4 may 1968 & ujamaa shule opens
#OTD 4 May 1968 Ujamaa Shule (1554 8th St NW), an African-centered independent school, opened. Ujamaa Shule was the first African-centered independent school in the city and one of the first in the U.S. It began as a preschool with three students and was founded by Baba El Sezengakulu Zulu (formerly known as Lester McKinnie).
In the photo above, Baba Zulu is on the immediate right, Cleveland Sellers on the immediate left and Stokely Carmichael is in the middle.
Baba Zulu was a SNCC organizer in Mississippi, where he was arrested 69 times. He moved to DC in 1964 to attend Howard University Law School. He continued his organizing here, becoming head of the local SNCC chapter in 1966. It is his work organizing freedom schools in Mississippi and DC that propelled him to develop an independent school where students would be taught from a pan-African centered philosophy and curriculum.
Your comments are welcome below. Do you, a family member or neighbor remember the founding of Ujamaa Shule? Did you attend Ujamaa Shule? Did you work with Baba Zulu? You may comment privately here.
Click here to learn more about Ujamaa Shule, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Photo source: Courtesy DCPL Special Collections. 5 April 1968. Photo taken at the New School of Afro-American Thought, 2208 14th St NW, during a press conference re the uprising. Ranny Routt, photographer.
Michelle Coghill-Chatman, "At Eshu's Crossroad: Pan-African Identity in a Changing City," Capital Dilemma 2015.