I am a product of Oakland, California, born and raised. I am also a product to the Oakland Public School System As a native of Oakland, California, and a product of the Oakland Unified School District's (OUSD) educational system and a mother of children who were students of that system, I am aware of the strengths and weaknesses of this system. As a native of the OUSD system, I remember reading about American history and the building of it, and how rarely were there images of Africans or African Americans shown.
When it came to images and role models of people with the same complexion, the same hair texture, the same thick lips, the same broad nose, as my family, my friends and myself, there were many images of people of African descent with these features that were considered to be savages, primitives, and uncivilized. The rare few I did observe and appreciate were of : Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, and Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr.
I remember often wondering as a child, " Were there only a handful of people with the same features as me that made significant contributions to society?"
Having this mental dilemma at such an early and impressionable age, could and would have a lasting impact on my self-