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Black History Is About More Than Oppression: An Article from EducationWeek

Feb 05, 2021    |   Celebrating Diversity

This week, an article was shared in EdWeek that posed the question: why can’t we get Black history education right? 

The article was written by LaGarrett J. King, who is the founding director of the Carter Center for K-12 Black history education at the University of Missouri’s College of Education.

King argues that we can’t get Black history education right, because we teach about Black history, instead of through it. Writings, teachings, and personal stories of Black men and women are rarely a part of the way that Black history is presented. Too often, Black history education that is taught in schools from a white perspective.

In the article, King shares:

“The first time many schoolchildren learn about Black people is through enslavement and other oppression-centered narratives. Black people are taught as passive people and disconnected from their liberation. The prevailing narrative emphasizes white saviors and the federal government as Black people’s primary liberators.” 

This article is a call-to-action for educators and schools to re-think the way that Black history is presented and taught. Knight’s message is particularly timely as we enter Black history month, but it goes beyond the month of February. As educators, we have an opportunity and responsibility to elevate the voices of marginalized groups in our classrooms, and this article is a poignant reminder of why it is so important.

This article offers a variety of examples, ideas, and concrete ways to elevate Black voices in your classroom.

Click here to read the entire article. Or, if you are interested in hearing more from the author of this article, check out the resources below:

  • Recent episode of the podcast, The Conscious Educator, in which LaGarrett J. King discusses the importance of Black history in schools, his framework for Black historical consciousness, and the six principles every educator should embrace when creating more authentic representation of Black historical knowledge in their classrooms and schools.

  • Black History is Not American History: Toward a Framework of Black Historical Consciousness, an article from the magazine Social Education, in which King explores the popular slogan, “Black history is American history,” and how this phrase is problematic in the way that it “insinuates a sort of shared historical legacy between white and Black people, which is not entirely accurate.” The article defines Black Historical Consciousness and looks at ways that Black history education can be improved in schools.

  • The Status of Black History in U.S. Schools and Society, an article by LaGarrett J. King, which looks at how Black history is taught throughout the country.

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