SAAB Organization Purpose

For a number of years crime statistics have revealed that a disproportionate number of Black men were using illicit drugs, committing other crimes and contributing to teen-age pregnancy. Just as alarming, one out of every four Black men aged 20 to 29 are either in prison, on probation, or on parole. More Black men of this age group are in prison than there are in college and the armed services combined. Many young men choose crime and irresponsibility because they feel that no one cares about them and that they have nothing to lose. One can understand that with such feelings, stealing, using illicit drugs-- or even murder--could be an "easy" alternative.

How should we respond to this critical situation? One response would be to shake our heads and place the blame upon our institutions and systems. Another would be to take positive steps by giving of our time and talent o demonstrate that there are alternatives to the path too many Black men take. Indeed, it is up to us to carry the shield to overcome obstacles to a brighter side of life. We can offer our younger generation food to think, act, and prepare for a better future than those who choose a collision course with doom.

African American men remain underrepresented in higher education. In his analysis of the 2000 U.S. Census and the Chronicle of Higher Education 2005 Almanac, Cuyjet (2006) found that, although Black males represented 47.5% of the African American population in 2000, only 35.8% enrolled in college in 2002. Reasons for this group’s underrepresentation have been widely documented. Black students are not encouraged to achieve academically during their primary and secondary education, have the lowest high school grade point average (GPA) compared to other groups, fail to finish high school, are disproportionally targeted for disciplinary actions including expulsion, and are disproportionally placed in behavior disorder and special education classrooms (Bonner & Bailey, 2006; Cuyjet, 2006; Strayhorn, 2008). Hence, those who make it to college lack indispensable requirements for success, including basic comprehension, and reading, writing, and test-taking skills (Adelman, 1996; McGinnis, 2002). Aggravating these problems is the lack of institutional commitment to providing African American males academic support services (i.e. mentoring, tutoring), and to establishing a welcoming campus environment (Swail, 2000; Flowers, 2004; Schwartz & Washington, 2002).

These factors, in turn, affect the retention and graduation rates of Black men. Black males are not only the least likely to enroll in college, but are also the most likely to drop out without earning a bachelor’s degree. A 2006 U.S. Department of Education report shows that only 9% of all students receiving a baccalaureate degree were African Americans in 2001, compared to 27% for whites. Less than 3% of Black men earned their degrees from 2001 to 2002 (American Council on Education, 2003). In addition to the race gap, the scholastic achievement gap between African American men and African American women has not gone unnoticed. Studies show that Black women are twice as likely to earn their baccalaureate degrees compared to their male counterparts (American Council on Education, 2003; Cuyjet, 2006.) Adopted from a SAAB Study Conducted by Dr. Maristela Zell of Governor’s State University.

The Work Of SAAB Promotes: