Writing to the Editor on the Value of School-Based Teaching of African American History

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Importance of Teaching African American History

Some political organizations have been attempting for some time to minimize the importance of African American studies in the academic program. These organizations oppose our children learning about African American history, claiming that doing so will incite students to react angrily to the unfair treatment of their forebears. (Pitre, et al., 2008).

Broadening the View of American History

The importance of teaching African American history in our schools cannot be overstated; by understanding and appreciating how far others have come, students and others will be better able to accept a multicultural society. Teaching African American history in our schools serves to broaden the view of American history. Pitre, et al. (2008) explains that doing this will not only promote cultural diversity but also make right the false representations of African American people. America, as seen in the history curriculum, has always been dominated by the white man and his achievements. There is very little highlighting of the other races and their contributions. Many people may be led to believe that African Americans have done nothing for themselves or their country.

The Issue of Slavery and Civil Rights

The issue of slavery and civil rights is of particular importance in the history of the black people. When this piece of history is taken away from the schools, children, including those of African descent, will grow up unaware of what their ancestors went through so that they can enjoy the freedom they have now. It will rob the American society a chance to understand the pain and suffering that their fellow human beings had to endure. Teaching about slavery also lets the students know where racism, something that continues to plague this country, originated from (Loewen, 2015).

Developing Positive Race Relations

Racism became part of this country when the African slaves landed on our shores. The white supremacists believed that they were better than their dark-skinned slaves. This notion persisted in the minds of the whites, and they have since then believed that African Americans are inferior. It is seen every day in the form of police brutality, racial profiling, discrimination, and race-inspired killings (Seabrook and Wyatt-Nichol, 2016). Teaching young minds about slavery and subsequently, racism and the fight for civil rights helps them to develop positive race relations. The students get to learn about notable figures such as Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks who revolted through non-violent means. Ironically, even with this peaceful approach, Dr. King was still murdered by the defiant whites. This fact will enable students of all races to see the insensitive nature of the supremacists which was not helpful in any way. The African American students will learn about resilience and peace when advocating for their rights. This is important in today's society where some people still resort to violence when they want to pass a message across.

Fostering Positive Interactions

The white students will recognize and appreciate the lengths the African American people went through to shake off their enslavement. It will also help them to relate to the African Americans as fellow humans with feelings and ambitions. This recognition helps to foster positive interactions that go beyond the color of their skin which is something this country needs so much. No one will see the other as superior or inferior, and the hostility between the races will stop.

Combating Stereotypes and Negative Image

When black history is taught in schools, the children will pass the message to their parents. This act guarantees the discussion of these issues by the society as a whole. The students will also learn about African American achievements in the arts, literature, aviation, and many other areas. This helps to fight the stereotypes in the black community. It will contribute to combating the negative image that the media and white history feeds them thus freeing up their young minds for more positive interactions.

Mending and Healing Race Relations

Teaching African American history has many positive rewards for students and the society. Keeping it as part of the curriculum will be of benefit by helping to mend and heal race relations in this country.

Yours sincerely,

[Name and Address]


Seabrook, R., & Wyatt-Nichol, H. (2016). The Ugly Side of America: Institutional Oppression and Race. Journal of Public Management & Social Policy, 23(1), 20-46. Retrieved from http://digitalscholarship.tsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1043&context=jpmsp

Pitre, A., Ray, R., & Pitre, E. (2008). The struggle for Black history: Foundations for a critical Black pedagogy in education. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Chapter 3, pp 15-23. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=VkXRvhMrCVQC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA16&dq=arguments+against+including+black+history+in+curriculum&source=bl&ots=tbk47OQmOU&sig=g0n38c1PuBivhBzt9Wl_EI9xb_Y&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=arguments%20against%20including%20black%20history%20in%20curriculum&f=false

Loewen, J. W. (2016) Methods for Teaching Slavery to High School Students and College Undergraduates in the United States. In B. Jay & C.L. Lyerly (Eds.), Understanding and Teaching American Slavery (pp. 9-30). Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. Book excerpt Retrieved from http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/general/TT55_What_Learning_About_Slavery_Can_Teach_Us.pdf

July 07, 2023

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