Brother Taki Raton, a Black Nationalist and
Revolutionary Educator, Joins the Ancestors!
Taki S. Raton,
a molder of young minds
Taki S. Raton believed in bucking
the status quo, especially when it constantly failed people of color.
When Milwaukee Public Schools
struggled to educate African-American children, producing a 50% graduation rate,
Raton didn't just complain, he decided to start his own charter school - Blyden
Delany Academy - which operated under Milwaukee's choice program for 10 years.
The school's emphasis was on youths learning and appreciating their African
Raton - a black nationalist - was
an educator who believed in self-reliance. He felt that no matter how poor or
disadvantaged black people were, if they worked together and pooled their
resources they could overcome any obstacle through an Afrocentric approach.
Raton, 68, died Tuesday morning
at St. Luke's Medical Center from a heart condition.
His death leaves a void in the
Raton, a former MPS teacher, was
often critical of the educational system that he said failed children of color,
with half of black boys failing to graduate on time from MPS. He believed in a
bold approach to teaching black children with an all-black staff and all-black
school board. His K-8 grade school, which was at N. 24th St. and W. McKinley
Ave., had a successful run but closed in 2008 due to financial deficiencies and
a lack of support from the black community.
Raton felt the community was
satisfied with a failing status quo.
Raton's school stressed that
self-respect, self-esteem, civility and responsible citizenship always begins
"in house" within one's family and within one's community.
Raton moved to Milwaukee from Chicago about 25 years ago
for a teaching job. He quickly felt that Milwaukee was a city where he could do
a lot of work and change the conscience of people, his son, Kiari Raton, told
"He was strong into his roots for
as long as I can remember. He felt that the more people were educated on their
history, the more that they could do to help themselves," Kiari said.
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