Education: We Put It All Together

Its hall is decorated with a picture of Malcolm X and the red-green-and-black flag of black liberation. As its leader strolls down the corridors, he frequently greets his pupils with the black-brotherhood handshake. This is no revolutionary institution, however, but a Catholic parochial school, Holy Angels, one of the largest and most unusual in the U.S. It is both strict and successful.

Holy Angels' 1,300 students all come from Chicago's crumbling South Side ghetto, home turf of the feared street gang, the Black P Stone Nation. Their parents, half of whom are on welfare,...

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