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We hear so many negative statistics about young black men that it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction.

Statistics like a young black boy born today is more likely to go to jail than go to college.

Or statistics like there are more black men in prison than in college.

The truth is that since 2011 there are more black men in college than there are in prison.

While it is sad that at one point that statistic was true, it’s fantastic that it’s being turned around, and quickly.

It’s being turned around by people like Kwasi Enin, a young African-American man who was accepted to all eight ivy League schools.

It’s being turned around by 17-year old black teens like Akintunde Ahmad of Oakland, California who has a 5.0 GPA, that’s right a 5.0 GPA and a 2100 SAT score.


And it’s being turned around by people like the young men of Urban Prep academy in Chicago.

For the fifth year in a row 100 percent of its graduating class of young men of color is college bound.

All 240 of Urban Prep seniors are heading to college.

According to the letter from Urban Prep founder Tim King, these young men have received acceptance letters from over 185 colleges and universities and earned over $11,000,000 in scholarships and grants.

King states that these young men stand in plain view ready to be celebrated and ready to get the attention they deserve.

I agree with him when he writes, “when we turn on the news and read the papers, and often the sounds of negativity, of lack, of despair overwhelm us: “Black men are absent”, “Black men are dead”, “Black men are killers”, “Black men are stupid”, Black men are unemployed”, “Black men are in jail”, “Black men are nothing.”

That is all so wrong when it comes to Kwasi Enin, Akintunde Ahmad and the 240 graduating seniors of Urban Prep- young, black, proud, men.

Yes, they not only deserve our attention, but our praise and our encouragement.

When I visited them back in 2008 just before President Obama was elected, I dubbed them the Little Obamas.

The first graduating class after that lived up to that nickname by all being accepted to college.

There is a creed that is recited every morning at Urban Prep by all the young men at the school.

It reads: We are our brothers’ keepers.

We believe in ourselves.

We believe in each other.

We believe in Urban Prep.


And we should all believe in them.

Theirs and our futures depend on it.

I believe.

Do you?

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DON LEMON: The Graduates Of The Urban Academy In Chicago All Going To College  was originally published on