By Steven D. Gish
A biography of Dr. A.B. Xuma, the American-educated President of the African nationwide Congress within the Nineteen Forties, and the 1st western-trained black South African healthcare professional to perform medication in Johannesburg.
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Additional resources for Alfred B. Xuma: African, American, South African
56 Xuma was part of a long line of Africans who had chosen to leave South Africa in search of greater educational opportunities. Faced with so few opportunities to pursue advanced study in their own country, South Africa's Christian, mission-educated African community had been sending their best and brightest to study overseas since the nineteenth century. The United States became the most popular destination; students also ventured to the United Kingdom. The handful of Africans who journeyed across the Atlantic to the United States enrolled mostly at all-black institutions such as Howard, Lincoln, Tuskegee, and Wilberforce, although some studied at traditionally white institutions as well.
Wherever possible, academic subjects were to have practical applications. Thus a typical lesson on English composition could require students to write an essay on the fine art of plowing. Xuma probably wrote many such essays. His specialization in agriculture at Tuskegee enabled him to take courses in subjects such as animal husbandry, agronomy, and dairy farming. 9 Booker T. Washington evidently viewed agriculture as the primary means of subsistence for black Americans and therefore viewed agricultural training as among Tuskegee's most important tasks.
72 Xuma's decision to enroll at Tuskegee probably came about shortly after he began teaching in 1912. Like other students who had achieved distinction in missionary schools, Xuma sought to break through the artificial ceiling that South African educational authorities had imposed on him because of his race. Tuskegee seemed to offer a means of breaking through this barrier. By speaking with returnees and reading the African press, Xuma became convinced that 'education by self-help' was a concept full of possibility - both for himself and his people.
Alfred B. Xuma: African, American, South African by Steven D. Gish