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Council of Independent Black Institutions

The Council of Independent Black Institutions (CIBI) was founded in 1972 to unify a far flung, rapidly developing movement of Pan-Afrikanist oriented independent schools in the United States. CIBI’s founding represented the implementation of ideas from a different ideological stream than that which guided integrationist strategies that swept Afrikan communities during the period leading up to and following the United States Supreme Court’s Brown decision. —CIBI Website.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, there was a renaissance in Historically Black Independent Schools fueled by the Ocean Hill-Brownsville struggle for community control of local school boards, a movement led by African American educators and parents in Brooklyn with collaborative efforts in Lower Manhattan and Harlem. Frustrated with their efforts to improve public schools, particpants formed an independent school in 1969 calle d Uhura Sasa Shule (Kikswahili for "Freedom Now School.") Direct control allowed the educators and parents to create what many felt was a model school, with committed teachers, African American role models, high expectations, and an emphasis on culture and community values. At one point, it enrolled as many as 500 students.


Another seven or eight schools were founded as offspring of Uhura Sasa. During the mid 1970s, these schools collectively became known as the Brooklyn Family Schools. Founded on what would become known as the seven principles of Kwanzaa, they had a common philosophy and heritage. The schools were a direct outgrowth of the first of the New York African American Teachers Association's initiative for improvement of public schools through Community control. UIhura Sasa closed in 1985, but this wave of schools was only the beginning. A survey by the Toussaint Institute Fund indicated that nineteen of the seventy existing schools at the time of the NYC study were founded in the 1970s and another twenty-seven in the 1980s. The national organization CIBI (Council on Independent Black Institutions) was a direct outgrowth of the Brooklyn Family Schools as well. Source: Gail Foster in City Schools.

CIBI has a national reputation for its outstanding science fairs.  Visit the CIBI website for more.


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