Illiteracy Among African Americans

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Running Head: Illiteracy among African Americans

Illiteracy among African Americans
LaKisha Heard
Marygrove College
The high rate of illiteracy is a major problem in the United States. Although there have been programs and initiatives started to eradicate this problem, illiteracy still plagues millions of Americans. Out of all ethnic groups, African Americans have a higher illiteracy rate. Within this project, the causes of illiteracy are revealed and viable solutions to this on-going problem will be discussed. Illiteracy Among African-Americans

African-American adults do not have the ability or proper skills to read, write, or speak English correctly. African-Americans have the lowest level of literacy rates in the United States. The history of literacy among African- Americans depicts the levels of literacy today. Until the Civil War, it was illegal to teach Blacks to read and write. "Compulsory ignorance" as coined by writer Brent Staples relates to the reality that "Black" literacy was obstructed as a matter of law for more than a century. Until after the Civil War, it was a crime to teach "Blacks" how to read and openly literate "Blacks" were seen as destructive and even dangerous.” The stereotype of African-American adults are considered to be part-time workers, unemployed, and non-educated illiterate people. These African-American adults are individuals who make our society incapable of succeeding because of living their life on drugs or being violent. Some African-Americans choose to follow the road of poverty in the wrong direction by being caught in armed robbery, abuse, and prison. According to the 2000 US Census of Population, 15% of African-American in the poverty level are below the 8th grade reading level. An illiteracy study which focused on African- American communities to research the job opportunities, proper education, and drug usage in the urban area stressed that lifestyles have a dramatic influence on academic levels. The urban community stresses the issues of abuse, pregnancy, drugs, and violence, but few want to help the illiterate. African Americans need to have power and motivation to educate themselves and children at home. African Americans need to focus on homework, study habits, reading comprehension skills, and written English skills. African Americans need to invest in themselves and children having the power and education to read. While the slave experiences of African Americans make experiences markedly different from other citizens, we must move forward and utilize the system. It is time to demand more from our public education systems and more from us as parents and communities.

Illiteracy among African Americans was people considered middle and low class families. These are African Americans with money to invest properly, productive in education, and have low paying jobs. In the South illiteracy among African American people rate at ages ten and over from the percentage level of 76.2%-10.7. Illiteracy among African American makes rate at ages 20 to 64 from the percentage level of 50.0% to 9.6%. During the 1870 to 1979 illiteracy has been a problems throughout African American culture. The government was concern whether African Americans were capable of keeping up with modern functions in the society.

The literacy rate for blacks rose from 38.2 percent in1880 to 71.9 percent in 1910, whereas the literacy rate for whites rose only 1.9 percentage points from its 1880 level of 93.2 percent. Literacy among African Americans has improved statistically showing things have changed in the 20th century. Individuals were capable of receiving jobs in the Civil War period compared to the African Americans then. The characteristics of African Americans ages 55-64 were tested on three documents of illiteracy were prose, documents, and quantities skills. Each African Americans within this age range scored below average. African American...
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