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Poet Gaston Neal and 12 others founded the New School for Afro-American Thought in 1966 as an educational and cultural center for people of African descent and an expression of black separatism. The project grew out of the Cardozo Area Art Committee, organized by Neal, Donald Freeman, and Rimski Atchison. Classes and workshops were conducted in writing, drama, poetry, history, drumming, dance, Swahili, photography, data processing, and political thought among others. It was started at the height of the Black Power movement and was the seed for similar schools that developed around the nation. By the spring of 1971, the school had closed, but its impact continued to be felt as the movement for Afro-centric education took hold.

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