Our children deserve representation in curricula equally as others. When I was a child in high school, students were taught European history, quizzed on European countries, and could tell you about Henry VIII, the Tudor monarchy, and his wives. No one really questioned this as it was just the norm.
There weren’t any books given to me when I was in grade school dedicated solely to African History as part of our curriculum. A student in school during that time would have never experienced the opportunity to either pass or fail an exam based on their knowledge and competency strictly on African royalty, tribes, countries and its capitals because those exams were pretty much nonexistent.
Our culture is beautiful and rich. Black history is intertwined with strength, pain, beauty, struggle, creativity, fearlessness, courage, and resilience. Our ancestors made significant contributions to America. Our ancestors led rebellions against slavery, experienced racial terror by the Ku Klux Klan, represented and fought for America during segregation, created and patented life saving inventions, and so much more.
When Black History is discussed, it should be discussed truthfully and accurately not excluding the reasons as to why slavery and segregation existed, why black codes were created, the purpose of redlining, sundown towns, reasons as to why Black people couldn’t stare a white person in the eye, lynchings, or why Black people had to cross the street whenever a white person was on the same sidewalk as them. History has always provided these answers. We can’t hide and sugarcoat how Black people were treated in America to protect feelings due to fragility.
Can you imagine not being able to attend your favorite concert because of the color of your skin? Or, having to enter a restaurant at the colored entrance? Concerted efforts are being made spanning the nation outright banning books, limiting access to historical and culturally significant lessons, and teachings that empower, educate, and uplift the contributions Black people have made to America. Did you know there are people today that didn’t know that Black men were voting before white women?
Representation matters! Being able to see yourself as a President, Lawyer, prima ballerina, Judge, teacher, doctor, lead actor/actress, award winner, as the lead in a major film or character in a book let’s people know it could be them. However, negative stereotypes about Black people were always enforced and were on prominent display in theaters going back to a time when Black people could not step foot in one.
Written By: Joy Davis