Defying the Odds

In The Black Man on March 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

Tim King, founder and CEO of Urban Prep in Chicago, has reason to be proud: his vision of reclaiming young African American boys from the streets, drugs, and gangs and putting them on a path of manhood and productive citizenship is underway. “A role model doesn’t have to be a parent, but if you don’t have someone who looks like you, who has a similar background, about whom you can say, ‘He did it and I can do it,’ then you never will believe it. That’s why all these kids want to be basketball players or rap stars –those are the people they see who look like them.”

So, King decided to become more visible, become a star in his own right, he founded Urban Prep Charter Academy, the nation’s first all-male, all-African American charter school in the Southside of Chicago. 107 seniors are graduating, and out of that 107, all have been accepted to four year colleges or universities. According to, when the school opened four years ago, only 4 percent reading at grade level. Duaa Eldeib of the Chicago Tribune quotes King as saying that “There were those who told me that you can’t defy the data. Black boys are killed. Black boys drop out of high school. Black boys go to jail. Black boys don’t go to college. Black boys don’t graduate from college. They were wrong.” But the job is not done. King sees this as just another accomplishment in the journey of life. Now the focus shifts to seeing that these young men attend college: King said that “If we fulfill our mission, that means they not only are accepted to college, but graduate from it.”

And for graduating senior Bryant Alexander, “we’re breaking barriers and that feels great.”


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