Why schools should teach more black history

ugene McLemore (left) teaches a Black History class, Alicia Whitley (middle) teaches African American literature, and Kevin Bacon(right) also teaches a Black History class. (Photo courtesy of Mariah Kern)

In 1926 Carter G. Woodson started to teach Black History Week which would later become Black History Month in 1976.  In the United States, we celebrate Black History Month, but February shouldn’t be the only month we acknowledge black history. 

Teaching black history will enlighten students on cultures outside of their own.

Not all schools provide an African American history class, and without an opportunity to learn students are left in the dark when it comes to black history. In fact, only “8 percent of high school seniors identified slavery as the cause of the Civil  War [when asked] ”,said Donald Collins, an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland. This lack of understanding is due to the lack of education on black history.

Having black history as a core class will educate students on African American activists. Black history consists of more than just slavery. It consists of everything  African Americans have done for the United States. There are many African Americans who have impacted America including Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Madam C. J. Walker, Harriet Tubman, and plenty of others. 

Black history will not only educate students, no matter their race, it will also give African American students “people to look up to,” said Danielle Mankessi, a sophomore. Knowing that their ancestors have changed the world will give these students a sense of pride.

Teaching black history can help with “less division and confusion [in the world],” said Mankessi. Educating students on African American history can help them appreciate what African Americans have done, reducing prejudices towards them.

Teaching black history will make talking about race less uncomfortable. Some students are eager to come home to their parents and “share what they learned [at school]”, said Janeane Davis, the President and Chief Executive Officer of James, Davis & Associates.

Schools should teach African American history throughout the year because it will always be relevant. “You can’t have American history without African American history,” said Kevin Bacon, an African American history teacher. 


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