Monday, September 10, 2012


Recently in preparation for a new project, I re-read ‘The Case of ‘B’: A gifted negro girl’ published by Paul Witty & Martin D. Jenkins in 1935. I was so moved by the details of their study of this young girl’s brilliance. ‘B’ was one of a number of gifted students that Jenkins located in a predominately black neighborhood of Chicago in the early 1930s. Their interaction with ‘B’ set a precedent for the field of psychological assessment and gifted education. B’s story was the first to be published of a Black student with superior intellectual ability, her measured IQ was 200. In today’s language, B would be categorized as ‘highly or profoundly’ gifted. This was in the early 20th century. The researchers concluded that the ‘B’ was not necessarily alone in her high intellectual capacity and that other Black children could likely be found with similar abilities. I take that to mean, that if we seek them out, they can be found.

That was almost one hundred years ago and today, we are still grappling with the idea and work of finding and nurturing highly intelligent Black gifted children. Something is awry. Like with all cultural groups, from all communities, gifted children do exist, they actually exist everywhere!! If ‘B’ and her other gifted peers could be found in the early 1930s (Jenkins went to assess and write about a number of Black gifted children from similar communities in Chicago and other urban areas), then, certainly these children are among us today!! Below are just a few profiles of such students all across the nation in REAL TIME!!

Sophia & Rebecca: the authors of ‘A world without Chores’:

Sophia & Rebecca are two very bold, courageous & gifted sisters whose parents require them to participate in household chores (like all good parents should do). One day,  they came up with an ingenious idea which led to the writing and publication of an award winning children’s book. These two young authors are homeschooled and getting a great deal of national attention now for this unique and clever look at ‘A world without Chores’. See more about this exceptional book and these two young authors:

Chess Masters before 13!!

Three young men in New York City were featured in the national news for having earning the title of Chess Master before the age of 13! At 12, one of the champions, Justus Williams was the highest rated player of his age and gender group by the U.S. Chess Federation. They are now members of a very elite group of international chess masters having won tournaments and earned this distinction as young adolescents! Nationwide, chess teams enable millions of young people to sharpen their critical thinking skills, their visual spatial abilities and provide outlets for their intellectual abilities.

Amaya’s Dance bus:
A few years ago as a young girl, Amaya had a dream of providing the same type of dance lessons that she has access to for her classmates and neighborhood friends who could not afford private dance lessons. She asked her mother for a school bus that could travel around the community to bring the dance lessons to her friends’ front door…thus, the birth of Amaya’s Dance Bus.  Today, Amaya is a CEO of her own company! She has been interviewed on national talk shows, gained a great deal of respect and attention as an entrepreneur with exceptional compassion. See her extraordinary story here!

Steven Stafford, III
At 13 years old, Stephen Stafford had a choice for his schooling..he opted to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta with a triple major in the sciences. As the youngest student on campus during his freshman year, Stephen was recognizable, but well respected by his college classmates. Stephen is a prodigy. Today, Stephen has been in college for two years and is doing very well. See his story here:

"It is imperative that a child's 'gifted' mind is reflected consistently in his/her environment for optimal developmentFamily/life discussions; emotional bonding; entertainment; talent pursuits  and academics...when in accord makes for an inspired, brilliant student!"
 – M. Brown-Stafford, mother of Stephen Stafford III

Today, I implore you to do your part to advocate for children and youth like this in neighborhoods everywhere. WE CAN ERADICATE UNDER-ACHIEVEMENT OF BLACK STUDENTS AND OTHERS OF DIVERSE GROUPS AND WE CAN ERADICATE UNDER-REPRESENTATION IN GIFTED PROGRAMS ACROSS THIS NATION AND AROUND THE WORLD!! Students just like the ones here are in 'real time' classrooms, households, neighborhoods, waiting for an opportunity to demonstrate their brilliance! They are counting on us!!

Witty, P.A. & Jenkins, M.D. (1935)The Case of “B”—A
Gifted Negro Girl, The Journal of Social Psychology, 6:1, 117-124.

1 comment:

  1. Comment received via email:

    I am profoundly moved by all of these stories. Keep 'em coming!

    Cynthia Barnes Booker
    Media, Public Relations & Marketing Consultant