Most nations—and nations to be—have a history of people asking critical questions about schooling and about the politics of knowledge in which it participates. Is it simply reproducing the ideological goals and cultural forms and content of dominant groups? Could schooling be used to raise serious issues about existing societies? Could it go even further and be reorganized so that it actively participated in the reconstruction of those societies? Some of the most powerful traditions of asking and answering these questions—and of acting on them—can be found within oppressed communities themselves. Within these communities, among the most articulate and powerful traditions are those that evolved within African American collective efforts to create an education that responded to the short and long-term needs of black people. These traditions expressly aimed at changing the social realities that created these needs in the first place. I discuss two of the most insightful and committed scholar/activists of these movements: W. E. B. Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson. In the process, however, I also extend my discussion beyond these two figures to also highlight the contributions of women and men practitioners and activists in grounding these critical traditions in the logics and activities of daily life in educational institutions.