The president of the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP says African Americans have made progress, but more must be done. Keith Ratliff, Senior says it’s important to close the “achievement gap” between white and African American students in the region’s schools.
Ratliff says while some young African Americans are doing quite well academically, there are too many who aren’t spending enough time “doing it the old fashioned way– hitting the books.” Ratliff urges black youth to “turn off the TV and the boom boxes.”
Ratliff says it’s important for young black men and women to understand what their forefathers did to ensure they had educational opportunities. Ratliff says this month’s Juneteenth celebration is an opportunity to review and celebrate that history. Ratliff says African American history isn’t just for African Americans, though, it’s for all Americans. The annual Juneteenth celebration — a nine-day event that culminates on Saturday the 19th — marks the end of slavery in America. It’s a sort of African American “Independence Day.” Slavery officially ended in the U.S. 139 years ago. Ratliff is a pastor in Des Moines and he served as moderator at a Juneteenth event last night at the State Historical Building.