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Abstract In this essay, Marvin Lynn explores a range of perspectives on African American education, with particular focus on three works: Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement, by social anthropologist John Ogbu; African-Centered Pedagogy: Developing Schools of Achievement for African American Children, by teacher education expert Peter Murrell; and African American Literacies, by Elaine Richardson, professor of English and applied linguistics. Lynn draws on Charles Valentine's sociological framework for understanding culture in order to interrogate how the concept of culture is used in these works. Lynn concludes that critical race theory in education — a rapidly emerging discourse on schooling and inequality — may be a useful tool for lucidly framing the conditions under which African Americans are educated as well as the possible solutions to the perennial problems faced by this historically marginalized group.