Young, Gifted & Black Series
By Taki S. Raton
For those of you who may have taken a breath upon reading this headline, please be mindful that this feature is reflective of what has become a common norm for African American and global youth profiles in this particular Courier series.
He is young, gifted & Black. Joshua Bedford is now the youngest student to study at the University of Oxford. At the age of 6 in 2011, he earned over five Distinction Certificates in philosophy, mathematics and history.
As cited by his father, Knox Daniel in a contributing article on “10 Extraordinary Child Prodigies” in a January 11, 2012 posting of ODDEE, Joshua earned five distinctions at the Oxford, England campus and had additionally completed a master-class Research Project in Historical Enquiry on the Great Plague of 1665, earning him yet another Distinction.
Scoring mostly 95 to 100 percent on all of his assignments, Daniel reveals that Joshua ranked 4th place out of 24 “able and high-performing students” who were all older than him ranging in age from 8 to 12.
He learned to read fluently at the age of 2 and four years later began reading at the level of a 16 year-old.
A native of Tottenham in the London borough of Haringey, our talented prodigy has also studied Japanese and Chinese Mandarin since the age of three.
According to Jaber Mohamed in his May 20, 2013 Haringey Independent posting, Joshua could understand the alphabet and point to different colors on a chart when he was ten months old.
His father Daniel said he first noticed his son was “clever” when he was sitting on his lap while on the computer.
“I started telling him what the letters on the keyboard were and I realized that he was remembering and could understand,” reveals Daniel in the Haringey writing.
“So if I told him to point to a letter, he could do it so we moved on to colors,” he adds.
His father says that Joshua taught himself to touchtype on a computer before he had the motor skills to write using a pencil.
Britain’s Stormfront.org November 23, 2011 article shares that by the time he was three, he could name most of the cars on the road and correctly recall the country in which they were made.
“The key is you can never really start too early and we just discovered that he was really interested in all sorts of things,” says Daniel.
His father additionally shares in Stormfront that Joshua can ask “loads of questions all day long” about fairly complex matters that a child, understandably, would normally never think about.
“One morning, he got up and said, ‘Dad, I would really like to evaluate the properties of God’.” Yet another challenging inquiry poised to his father: “Is infi nity an odd or an even number?” Of course his father, in his words, “had no idea.”
In 2011, Daniel was keenly aware that his son needed to be intellectually challenged, so he wrote to Oxford to see if the university would admit him in a philosophy course for gifted children between the ages of eight and 13.
Oxford agreed to admit Joshua, thereby making him the youngest student ever to be accepted in the Online Learning Platform for Gifted Children.
As described in a September 11, 2011 VOICE posting, this online learning program is a master class designed to help children develop stronger critical and creative thinking, reasoning, and logic aptitude and further cultivates the opportunity for enrolled pupils to sharpen their debating skills.
Regarding his competence in debate, Daniel is cited in VOICE stating that his son has argued his case in typed assignments on such philosophical treatments as Plato’s “The Myth of the Cave.” In mathematics, Joshua earned a Certificate of Achievement for solving 9,000 math problems on IXL, the online primary mathematics program.
On top of being the youngest person to study at Oxford, Joshua also became the youngest to get all distinctions in a course for gifted children.
“I feel happy for my courses because I get a prize,” he is quoted in VOICE.
“I want to be a surgeon. I want to complete my studies and go to level five and later go to Oxford University full time,” he visions.
Level five, according to the published posting, is an accelerated math program for children ages 11 and older.
Daniel further submits that Joshua is already practicing simulations of surgical operations on his laptop.
As commented in VOICE: “He reads advance books on the body.
He learns all the different organs and what they do. He can name every part of the brain using the technical terms in Latin.
He’s also good at Japanese.
I buy the programs for him.
Basically, he’s self taught. He goes to Japanese restaurants and he orders in Japanese.
I feel proud of him,” says his father.
In his spare time, Joshua designs Power-Point presentations on human anatomy and has often been invited for speaking engagements at adult fund raising events.
And despite his achievements, “he is a well adjusted normal six-year-old who likes to play and have fun with other children.”
The Daniel’s family no longer notices that their son, now 8 years-old, is different.
“Most of the time, I don’t notice his intelligence because he is just Joshua to us.”
He adds in Stormfront that his son’s fascination with science cast no surprise “that his favorite program on TV is not a cartoon, like other children his age, but the weather report.”