Top Ten Videos to watch

HISTORY Brings 'Roots' Cast And Crew To The White House For Screening
Graduates tossing caps into the air
Freddie Gray Baltimore Protests
Mid section of man in graduation gown holding diploma
Legendary Baseball Player Tony Gwynn's Family Files A Lawsuit Against Big Tobacco
ME.jailhouse#2.0117.CW Montebello City Council has approved use of a private contractor to run the n
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Addresses Police Misconduct At Chicago City Council Meeting
WWII Soldiers Standing In A Flag Draped Sunset - SIlhouette
Students Taking a College Exam
Bill Cosby Preliminary Hearing
Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Louisville, Kentucky
Worried black businesswoman at desk
Tyler Perry And Soledad O'Brien Host Gala Honoring Bishop T.D. Jakes' 35 Years Of Ministry
Teacher with group of preschoolers sitting at table
FBI Officials Discuss Apprehension Of Explosions Suspect After Three-Day Manhunt
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons
Protests Erupt In Chicago After Video Of Police Shooting Of Teen Is Released
Nine Dead After Church Shooting In Charleston
Portrait of senior African woman holding money
President Bush Speals At Federalist Society's Gala
Police Line Tape
Senior Woman's Hands
Police officers running
New Orleans Residents Return to Housing Projects
David Banner
Leave a comment

In one of the most shocking achievements in sports history, the students at Intermediate School 318 Eugenio Maria de Hostos just won the national high school chess championships.  Yes, a bunch of middle schoolers took on and defeated the top high schools in the nation.  The win is compared to the best college basketball team defeating the team that won the NBA title.  The feat is impressive beyond words.

“This is the greatest achievement we’ve ever had, and probably ever will have,” said John Galvin, one of the coaches of the team.

Bill Hall, the executive director for the United States Chess Federation, said he has never seen anything like it.   Over the last 12 years, the IS 318 team has won over 12 national championships.  Two of the students, Justus Williams and James Black, are 13-year old chess masters.

“The chess geeks are the heroes of the school,” said Katie Dellamaggiore, one of the teachers at their school. “It’s cool to be really smart; it’s cool to be into chess.”

The students are the subject of the new documentary, “Brooklyn Castle,” which chronicles their achievements in chess.

In case you didn’t know, both Justus Williams and James Black are African American.  Their achievements symbolize the awesome intellectual power of so many of our black boys across America.  The tragedy is that Black and Williams likely have friends who are just as bright as they are, who’ve been duped into wasting their brilliance by dribbling a basketball or picking up a microphone.  Any fan of sports or hip hop can cite the tremendous intelligence regularly displayed by millions of black men who think that their only way to prominence is through sports or entertainment.

What is also interesting about the achievements of Black and Williams is that it’s not inconceivable that without proper guidance, both of these boys could have ended up in special education, or on medication after being diagnosed with ADHD.  Black boys across America have their futures stolen from them at a very early age by a school system that is more determined to control black men than it is to liberate them through education.  I understand this very well because Dr. Boyce Watkins was once one of those children.

So, while I openly celebrate the achievements of Black and Williams, I shed a tear for all the other millions of boys who became chess masters in a prison cell.  We must hang on to these sources of inspiration, share them far and wide and do everything within our power to ensure that our talented black boys find their way to greatness.  Yes, it’s very cool to be smart, and it’s time that we let the rest of our brothers in on that special little secret.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Also On News One: