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The State of the African American Male in Michigan:
A Courageous Conversation

The Need for a Summit

Although there have been some meager gains in achievement and graduation rates in recent years, the conditions affecting African American males in schools and society remain highly complex and astonishingly problematic.  Examples of the more salient conditions that are all too familiar and all too lamentable include high rates of school violence and suspensions, gender and masculine identity issues, HIV/AIDS and other health crises, the over-representation in special education, high incidents of crime and incarceration, and poor access to higher education. These areas of concern adversely affect the quality of life for African American males in urban and near urban enclaves of the State of Michigan.  There is a need for critical dialogue among key stakeholders from across the State with an eye toward impacting policy and practice.  The proposed educational summit will provide a unique forum for school and community leaders to consider the issues and recommend changes in policy and practice.

The overall life expectancy for African American men in Wayne County is 62 years as compared to White men at 71 years, African American women at 73 years, and White women at 78 years.  This is a glaring example of a sixteen year difference in life expectancy between African American men and White women.  When making an allowance for differentials in quality of life and economic gauges, the outcome is generally abysmal with African American men trailing woefully behind their counterparts on most indicators.  Given the size and scope of the dilemmas in Michigan, this educational summit is warranted and acutely needed.  In short, the average metropolitan African American male will never retire or collect social security benefits. Similar outcomes are seen throughout the State wherever there are disproportionate pockets of African Americans.  There are a myriad of historical and causal factors proffered to explain the conditions.   However, there is a need to move beyond problem identification elements to begin considering solution elements in the form of educational imperatives and initiatives to positively affect the African American communities of the State.


The State of the African American Male in Michigan: A Courageous Conversation” takes place Friday, June 9th, 2006 at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.  Approximately 250 invited delegates will engage in a one-day dialogue focused on a multitude of issues impacting African American males in school and society. The summit will include a diverse group of persons, by race and gender, which possess the knowledge and skills that will affect changes in policy and practice.

Among the invited participants/delegates are representatives from:

  • Pre K-12 Schools
  • Institutions of Higher Education
  • Student Organizations at Institutions of Higher Education
  • Community Organizations
  • Religious Organizations
  • Criminal Justice Agencies
  • Mental Health Providers
  • Social Service Providers
  • Education Organizations


Participants attending the summit will act as delegates and will be assigned to discussion groups focusing on identified topics. Delegates are expected to participate in small discussion groups focusing on selected issues facing African American males in Michigan. We are asking that delegates bring a high level of knowledge, expertise, and experience to the discussion of selected issues to facilitate the development of recommended policies and initiatives. Delegates are required to read commissioned papers written by experts on the identified issues prior to the African American Males Summit.

All delegates attending the summit need to be Pre-Registered.  

To pre-register, complete the Delegate Registration Form (pdf file) and email, fax, or call us with the information.   Please email information to :

You can fax this document to: 734.487.3312

You can contact us at : 734.487.1060

Be sure to check your email as information about the summit will be sent to you through email. 

Commissioned Papers

To ensure the success of the summit, commissioned papers are being provided, focusing on specific issues. These papers serve as points of departure for the various focus groups to begin disentangling the respective conditions to be addressed during the summit. Leading scholars who have demonstrated expertise in the designated focus areas were commissioned to prepare these papers free from academic jargon and colloquialism, deeming each paper useful for a diverse audience. Commissioned papers address the nature of the issues from a national and state context as well as recommendations for policy and practice.

Please click the link below, to access the available papers.