By Jason Terrell, co-Founder & Executive Director
In the Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois posed a serious and thought-provoking question about the human condition of Black people in 1903 America: “How does it feel to be a problem?” Du Bois was not delving into problems that arise from financial constraints, education depression, or an unfair judicial system but the problem of simply being a breathing, feeling, and thoughtful Black body.
Du Bois wrote about the conditions of Black people in 1903 America and oddly enough his words ring true today, especially in relation to
our students. If I presented you a school environment where the people who resemble you and your family members were not equitably reflected in advanced placement courses, gifted and talented programs, or even as your instructional leaders but were the faces of discipline policies and academic interventions programs, you might think there’s a problem. Either the system is completely broken, or our students are the culprit.
When we see our students, especially our boys as problems and do not acknowledge their positive attributes, we miss out on the beauty of their perspectives. We miss out on the reality of their dreams, and they miss out on what Aristotle defines as the “good life”- intellectual and character virtues.
How Profound Gentlemen Works?
Profound Gentlemen was birthed on the idea that our Black and Brown boys are assets and we equip Men of color with the resources, structures, and tools to uncover these assets through education and mentorship. Not only are we preparing Men of color to be leaders in their school building but we empower them to use our Code Orange Curriculum that infuses Social Emotional Learning, College and Career Readiness, and Civic & Community Engagement to ensure that their students, especially their boys, are on a cradle-to-career pipeline. These Educators dedicate additional time to support boys of color by meeting at least 120 minutes a month and facilitating Code Orange activities into their lessons.
Our Work in Action
I want to highlight an educator, Archie Moss. Archie is an educator and the Principal of Bruce Elementary School in Memphis, TN. Archie founded and currently runs the Gentlemen’s League, a program designed to educate, empower, and enrich males. In just elementary school, Archie uses Profound Gentlemen’s framework of Social and Emotional Learning, College and Career Readiness, and Civic & Community Engagement to equip his boys with the skills to enter into a cradle-to-career pipeline.
Archie incorporates social and emotional learning by encouraging his boys to be authentic, network, and build meaningful bonds. He strategically breaks his boys into clusters: The King Squad after Dr. Martin Luther King, The Obama Squad after Pres. Barack Obama, and The Marshall Squad after Thurgood Marshall. Each cluster is led by a Head of House and a Co-Head of House.The purpose of the clusters are to provide each gentleman with opportunities to develop authentic relationships with one another, hold each other accountable to academic success, provide peer mentorship, and create an atmosphere where the boys learn the true meaning behind “Am I My Brothers Keeper?”
“Archie has done a tremendous job in working with Black males,” said Mario Jovan Shaw, co-founder and chief program officer of Profound Gentlemen. “In Charlotte, he created an organization that transformed the lives of his students with the Gentlemen’s League. He then moved to Memphis where the same impact his happening in the 901 community. I look forward to seeing his continued impact of his work.”
Mario Jovan Shaw- coFounder & Chief Program Officer
Mr. Moss highlights the assets of his boys by encouraging them to create their own narratives. Check out their work: http://www.thegentsleague.org
Archie is one of the hundreds of male educators of color in the Profound Gentlemen community who is reshaping the narrative for boys of color in their schools. We have a front row seat to observe and support the impact he is having, and we know that Archie’s work is fueling young boys to enter a cradle- to- career pipeline.
Visit profoundgentlemen.org – be a friend, a supporter, and grab a front row seat to watch the impact.