Walter E. Williams

Frederick Douglass was founded in 1883 as the Colored High and Training School before it was renamed. It is one of the nation's oldest historically black high schools. It was a draw for Baltimore's brightest black students. Success stories among its alumni include Thurgood Marshall, Cab Calloway, as well as several judges, congressmen and civil rights leaders. I guarantee you that if Douglass High student test scores of that earlier era were available, they wouldn't show today's achievement gap. Also, a 1940s or '50s Douglass High graduate would find no comparison between student behavior during their school years and that shown in the documentary.

Politicians and the teaching establishment say more money, smaller classes and newer buildings are necessary for black academic excellence. At Frederick Douglass' founding, it didn't have the resources available today. If blacks can achieve at a time when there was far greater poverty, gross discrimination and fewer opportunities, what says blacks cannot achieve today? Whether we want to own up to it or not, the welfare state has done what Jim Crow, gross discrimination and poverty could not have done. It has contributed to the breakdown of the black family structure and has helped establish a set of values alien to traditional values of high moral standards, hard work and achievement.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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