Rempson (Minority Access to Higher Education In N.Y. City, 1972) examines what he sees as the root causes of education and economic-mobility gaps that affect African-American males.
The question of how to attain educational and economic equality with whites has been a central concern of African-American thought, dating back to W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. With this book, Rempson tracks its evolution to the present day, as embodied in the arguments of actor Bill Cosby and author Michael Eric Dyson; he also looks at the divisions that still exist among young African-American males regarding the so-called “cool-pose culture,” the idea of “acting white,” and the quality of black male role models, up to and including President Barack Obama. He then outlines his own concept to help combat the problem: the African American Male Career Pathway Program, AMCAP. The proposed after-school program would work to increase high school graduation and college attendance rates among young African-American men by exposing them to male role models, counselors, and volunteers, who would work closely with them to cultivate “their ability to handle peer pressure, to stay drug free, to manage their female and other relationships, and to achieve their other developmental tasks.” Rempson, the former dean of students at the City University of New York’s Bronx Community College, is a lucid writer, if a long-winded one; his book is more 900 pages long, and a more concise version that spent less time ramping up to his plan might have encouraged a wider readership. Overall, he falls squarely on the side of placing responsibility on the African-American community: “Our own behavior…serves both to cause the problem and to hinder its solution….[R]ather than placing its remedy in the hands of white people…we must lead the way in its prevention and remedy.” Some may find the book’s platform to be a bit preachy. However, it’s clear that the author has spent many years thinking about the particular problems of the community and formulating customized solutions to help solve them, as embodied here.
A lengthy manifesto for AMCAP that lays out a vision for an ascendant black America.