The Freedom Train Network is celebrating black women for the entire month of May. So we will be celebrating and teaching you about great black women of the African diaspora. This episode we are focusing on Professor Wangari Muta Maathai.
Wangari Muta Maathai was born on April 1st, 1940 in the village of Ihithe in the Nyeri District of Kenya. Around 1943 her family moved to a White-owned farm where her father had found work, she lived there until 1947 when her mother returned to Ihithe so 2 of her brothers could attend school (there was no schooling on the farm). At the age of 8 she joined her brothers in Primary school and at the age of 11 she moved to St. Cecilia’s Intermediate Primary School, which was a catholic boarding school in Nyeri. She spent four years at the school becoming fluent in English and converting to Catholicism. While at Cecilia’s she was protected from the Mau Mau Uprising that caused her mother to move to an emergency village. She graduated first in her class and was admitted to Loreto High School in Limuru, the only Catholic High School for Girls in Kenya. As colonialism ended in East Africa Kenyan Politicians began to look for ways to make education in Western Nations available, and with the help of Senator John Kennedy, the Kennedy Airlift Program was created. Maathai was one of roughly 300 kenyan's selected to study in the United States in September of 1960.
On the Shoulders of Giants
The mission of On the Shoulders of Giants, Inc. is to provide an innovative and informative approach to educating middle school, high school, college age and young adults, about the history , culture, influence and impact of the heroes and culture of the African diaspora.