This study examined the Mary McLeod Bethune Institute (MMBI), an African-American supplementary school with a twenty-four year history (1979-2003) in Los Angeles, California, based on social conditions that called for the promotion of its existence and its principles and products. The study found that the inclusion of essential elements of MMBI in local public schools affirmed the socio-cultural background, language, and social identity of attending African-American children. This study is guided by three research questions: 1) What are the social conditions that have contributed to the underachievement of African-American children? 2) How does the MMBI's model provide for the self-affirmation and social consciousness that speak to the promise and possibilities of African-American children's high academic achievement ? 3) How has the MMBI's Afro-centric model contributed to a social constructivist approach and culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum? The study used three research approaches to examine the MMBI, namely, the review of the research literature, descriptive case study, and action research. A single case study approach was chosen to illuminate the struggle of the African-American independent school movement seeking to actualize a culturally rooted curriculum that respects and uses the language and culture of children. The MMBI focused on African-American students' personal and cultural capital and provided access to their rich cultural heritage through the school's pedagogy of liberation. Five tenets guided the MMBI philosophy of education: students as subjects rather than objects; the right to acquire critical thinking skills; service to community; the right to a culturally rooted value orientation, and respect for human diversity. The case study suggests that the MMBI was a model of quality, culturally relevant instruction for African-American children. Three action items are offered: first, the history and culture of African-American people need to be taught in comprehensive and authentic ways to yield high academic achievement in African-American students; second, teacher training institutions must provide effective and quality, culturally-rooted literacy instruction, and third, African-American children benefit greatly when schools, families, and communities collaborate in improving school practices that affect positively the academic and social success of African-American children.