A Black Education Network

"We specialize in the wholly impossible!" Nannie Helen Burroughs

ABEN Garners $150,000 from Hewlett Foundation

After Debra Watkins shared her vision for A Black Education Network (ABEN) with President Larry Kramer of the Hewlett Foundation, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, he approved a generous $150,000 grant to help seed the work.

ABEN Hosts Four Regional Forums

While we have been working on our website to ready it for public viewing, teams of people around the country were busy planning and conducting powerful forums in each major region of this country in 2014.

A New History in the Making

img01After establishing the California Alliance of African American Educators (CAAAE) in 2001, to advocate for Black children who were being marginalized in that state, Debra Watkins envisioned providing two-day summer institutes. From the onset, these institutes were well-attended and given excellent evaluations. Over a ten-year period, either at Stanford University or the University of California, Los Angeles, these institutes featured the following keynoters: Drs. Bob Moses; Beverly Daniel Tatum; Gloria Ladson-Billings; Pedro Noguera; Wade Nobles; Lisa Delpit; Sharroky Hollie; Carole Lee; and Geneva Gay.

Following the 10th annual Summer Institute, it became evident that the crisis in Black education extended across the nation and that the CAAAE was uniquely positioned (largely due to funding) to help address it. At the urging of one of CAAAE’s Think Tank members, Dr. Joyce King, Debra helped spearhead a National Black Education Working Summit in Chicago in October 2012. One of the nine Action Groups, proposed to address the widespread miseducation of Black children was focused on building a network of hundreds of schools serving thousands of students (100 per year for 10 years) that would model academic and cultural excellence.

Dr. Hassimi O. Maiga, a renowned expert in the Songhoy language, and Dr. King suggested that we call the new organization ABEN. In the Songhoy language, ABEN means “it is finished” or “the buck stops here,” a name we felt was most fitting for the progressive stance we are taking to regain control over the education of Black children for liberation.

For Schools Only

For Schools Only

If you are a school interested in learning more about opening a Saturday STEM Academy in partnership with ABEN, please email Debra Watkins.

ABEN Membership

ABEN Membership

An application with required criteria that must be met will be finalized, and schools may then apply for selection into the Network.



Realizing the true potential of every child is critical to ensuring productive citizens, families, neighborhoods, communities.