Why Black History Is Just History
Too often people focus on the differences of this nation and over-complicate them by dividing us. Black history is history, period. It’s a showcase of how our nation has developed and changed (in some ways) over time. It’s an opportunity to teach about those who often get overlooked. Although it’s American history, Black history is a section of a chapter that sometimes gets treated like the preface of a book…skipped. Nonetheless, it’s still a vital part of the story, of the overall message of this country, and just as important as the rest. It’s more than simple facts of who invented what or quotes to inspire the masses; it’s inclusion at its finest.
It’s who we ALL are…inspired by history to make changes that include everyone in the narrative of the USA. Black history is your history, my history, and definitely our students’ history. I think we can all agree we want them to be better than the generation before them, and learn from our mistakes and selfish divisions.
Black history welcomes the opening of that previously locked door that kept us from conversing in safe spaces about race, religion, social classes, and whatever else might divide us. It now affords us a platform where equity is celebrated, and shared hopes and dreams remind us of those before us who fought for this recognition.
As educators, we can empower our students in simple ways to expose them to the contributions of Black Americans throughout history. We’re no longer limited to the social studies classroom; Black history can be envisioned across all content areas. In math, clips from the movie Hidden Figures to show the influence of Black women during the ’60s, podcasts featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson for science class, and essays covering the impact of Mary McLeod Bethune and her crusade for education in establishing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
In the words of former First Lady Michelle Obama, “There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history has yet to be made.” Black history is a section to be earmarked, remembered, and shared over and over again.
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