The American Promise Campaign
In partnership with trusted organizations around the country, the American Promise team is launching a national campaign to mobilize parents, educators and young people to identify ways that Americans can better support black boys’ social and emotional needs and encourage people to consider the role they play in advancing success for all children. This endeavor will be supported by a set of strategic tools in 2013 and 2014:
- a companion book published by Random House;
- Promise Clubs: local parent support groups designed to foster advocacy and engagement for parents;
- a mobile app that helps parents set and track goals and development for their children; will regularly provide tips for parents;
- a professional development guide for educators by Teaching Tolerance a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center;
- a program designed to foster peer-to-peer mentorship and dialogue for young mentors developed by Active Voice;
- a special campaign with the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Mentoring Brothers in Action program.
Spiegel & Grau will publish Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life by Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson and acclaimed author Hilary Beard weaves Brewster and Stephenson’s story with the practical and often provocative lessons they learned along the way, from their own experiences as well as from innovative new research. The book, published by Spiegel & Grau, is a compelling story, a groundbreaking practical guide, an urgent call-to-arms and an essential book for parents, caregivers, educators and others concerned about the fate of black boys in America. Spiegel & Grau will support the book with national media outreach and marketing campaigns across multiple platforms. The book is available January 14, 2014 and is designed to coincide with the airing of the PBS documentary.
Join American Promise Online
The film’s official website includes additional clips and images, an interactive discussion of clips, a discussion of parenting strategies (broken down by age and topic), tools for parents, educators, youth and advocates and opportunities to get involved in creating change. You can also find background information about the film and partner organizations.
From the Film
Benjamin Banneker Academy
The school’s official website provides general information, news and statistics about academic achievement.
The Dalton School
Dalton’s official website includes general information on the school’s programs and philosophy.
2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys
This organization focuses on the educational, social, emotional, physical, spiritual, political and economic development and empowerment of African descendant men and boys in the United States and offers educational resources.
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
This group promotes learning through high-quality, evidence-based preparation and continuing education for all school personnel.
American Promise is part of this Corporation for Public Broadcasting initiative. The website offers descriptions of other project broadcasts, as well as classroom resources, activity ideas and background information on graduation rates in the United States.
Black Alliance for Educational Options
The mission of the Black Alliance for Educational Options is to increase access to high-quality educational options for black children by actively supporting parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working-class black families.
Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color
The mission of this group is to connect, inspire, support and strengthen school leaders dedicated to the social, emotional and academic development of boys and young men of color.
Concerned Black Men National
This organization’s tutoring program offers an academically focused program in an afterschool setting that links learning to the school day.
Facing History and Ourselves
This program works with educators to improve their effectiveness in the classroom, as well as students’ academic performance and civic learning.
In Motion Magazine: “The Trouble with Black Boys: The Role and Influence of Environmental and Cultural Factors on the Academic Performance of African American Males”
In this 2002 article, Harvard professor of education Pedro A. Noguera provides a useful overview of the issues as he reviews and critiques competing explanations for the lagging academic performance of black males in the United States.
Independent School Diversity Network
This is an alliance of independent schools, parents and educators dedicated to promoting and supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and multicultural education.
National Education Association: “Race Against Time: Educating Black Boys”
This 2011 report from the nation’s largest teachers’ union includes statistics, the identification of key trends in disparities (e.g., suspensions, special education labels, graduation rates), recommendations for culturally responsive teaching and examples of success.
Oliver Scholars Program
The Oliver Scholars Program identifies outstanding New York City students of African and Latino descent and provides academic support to prepare them for leading high schools and colleges.
This organization aims to shape public education based on what is good for children by empowering parents to transform under-performing schools through community organizing.
This online hub is dedicated to shaping authentic perceptions of black men and boys.
Student African American Brotherhood
The Student African American Brotherhood works to increase the number of African-American and Latino men who graduate from college by creating a positive peer community based on a spirit of caring.
Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, examines how teachers can recognize and dismantle policies and practices that favor incarceration over education.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund partners with member-schools to increase access, retention and graduation rates of students, identify and prepare students for leadership and create a pipeline to employers for students and alumni.
United Negro College Fund
The United Negro College Fund plays a critical role in enabling more than 60,000 students each year to attend college.
United Way envisions a world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives.
The YMCA works in various communities to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.
The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University
The Achievement Gap Initiative is a university-wide effort initiated by the Harvard Graduate School of Education to focus academic research, public education and innovative outreach activities on eliminating achievement gaps, with an emphasis on doing so through parenting.
America’s Promise Alliance: Resources
America’s Promise Alliance provides a toolkit for parents and other resources.
Big Brother Big Sisters
This well-established mentoring organization helps children realize their potential and provides parents with support to help nurture children and strengthen communities.
Center for the Improvement of Child Caring
This organization’s website serves as a clearinghouse for information and research related to parenting black children.
The mission of Excellent Options is to see that all African-American students graduate from high school in their designated years and are equipped to pursue their options successfully.
This organization works to leverage the power of digital media to inspire and support parents to solve education-related problems and access helpful resources online and in their communities.
Mocha Moms is a support group for mothers of color who have chosen not to work full-time outside of the home.
National Fatherhood Initiative
This group aims to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible and committed fathers.
The purpose of the PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.
This website offers practical advice in a year-by-year format from birth to age 8, including developmentally appropriate expectations and how to engage children at various ages.