Black History Part III
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Black History Part III

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TheLoop21 examines the teaching of Black History and its impact on race relations.

TheLoop21 examines the teaching of Black History and its impact on race relations.

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  • 1. PART III - The Miseducation of Black History: Has the teaching of Black history helped Blacks understand their own history?
  • 2. Clifton West, Co-Founding Member Black Men Who Mean Business (with Dr. Cornel West and Mike Dailey) “As black folks, we have been in a collective storm. It’s very important for us to stay hold of that storm because that storm is still our blueprint, not just as Black Americans, but for making America a better place and becoming a better person. “So if we use Black history month as a catapult to recognize Black accomplishments and Black experiences all year long, then it becomes more purposeful. “When were talking about telling a truth and the power that truth will unleash in all of us, that’s a love story. “Black history for me is a love story ... because it’s a story of trying to get the truth out so that growth will occur and justice will prevail. And justice is what love looks like in public.”
  • 3. Dr. Tyrone Howard, Associate Professor UCLA Graduate School of Education “We’ve entered a fascinating era, with a Black president. You’ve heard we’ve entered a post-racial era that we don’t have to talk about race. We’re growing up with a group of Black kids who know less about Black history than the generation before. “Like those who are my age, we were closer to it, the remnants of Jim Crow were still there ... I think it has helped on some level but we’re getting to a point where 50 years from now people will wonder why we even had Black History, and that would be unfortunate.”
  • 4. Dr. Erin Winkler, Associate Professor University of Wisconson, Dept. of Africology “Young children who are developing racial identities, ideas about race, racial attitudes, they’re getting ideas from their families, they’re getting them from the media ... “I would say school has a pretty huge impact ... the questions on the exams that tell them what’s important. Even if their teacher’s focusing on Black history, (the exams) aren’t, the SATs aren’t ... and the teachers have to teach to the test. “It sends a very racialized message about what’s important to study. There’s no way kids don’t internalize that.”
  • 5. Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor Dept. of Africana Studies, California State University-Long Beach “It contributes to our self-understanding as persons and a people if it is taught and interpreted rightfully, and if we understand the essential reasons for our study of history. “These reasons are: to learn its lessons; to absorb its spirit of possibility; to extract and emulate its models of human excellence and achievement; and to practice the morality of remembrance by raising up and honoring our ancestors who gave much to us and the world, and living the lessons of the awesome legacy they left us.”
  • 6. Keene Walker, History Teacher Atlanta Public Schools, High School “I think it helps more at the elementary level than the high school level because of the high stakes tests. “For high school and middle school aged kids, it’s about getting to that next level and graduating. (They think) ‘If it’s not part of the standards, it’s not top priority on my list of things to do.’ “We’ve got to make Black history an integral part of the U.S. History curriculum. Otherwise, basically we’re speaking about Blacks as if they’re aliens to the country. “It’s like giving a kid a birthday party but not spending time with him the rest of the year, that doesn’t make you a good parent.”
  • 7. Dr. Joel Freeman, President/CEO Freeman Institute Black History Collection, “In terms of African American students, they’re looking for a genuineness, a passion in their teachers. “I think students have a lot of distraction, it’s wonderful when a student is paired up with a teacher who has a passion for what they’re talking about and has a deep well to draw from, not just surface information. “I love to gently challenge teachers to fall more deeply in love with what they’re teaching and to challenge students ... to really become impassioned about what they’re learning and want to learn more and then to have the curricula to allow for that to happen.”
  • 8. Kevin Cottrell, Public Historian Motherland Connextions Inc., “For the Black students who are getting it in the school districts that are incorporating it into their history, it can’t hurt. There’s new scholarship coming out on black inventors and their contributions. “I always wish it would go every month. “Teachers should be creative enough to include the 54th Massachusetts Regiment -- the Black regiment in the Civil War -- the one that Denzel (Washington) made a movie about. Those teachers should certainly do something on that, but not all of them do. “In the urban areas, teachers do all they can just to maintain.”