African-Americans Need to Learn Black History
Rosa Parks should be instantly identifiable to any black Miamian, but African-American history education is lacking.
photo courtesy White House
Go to any African-American neighborhood, whether it be in Miami or Baltimore, and chances are you won't find anyone under 30 who knows that a runaway black slave, Crispus Attucks, was the first casualty of the American Revolution. And likely no one will know that African-American businessmen were the first to be lynched.
When it comes to black history, African-Americans don't get enough of it.
In Florida, few schools teach African-American curricula despite a state law mandating that public school districts teach children about the black diaspora, including the history of Africans before they were enslaved.
In 2009, Florida's Task Force on African American History found that 59 school districts did not adequately represent black contributions in subjects such as art, English, math, science, and social studies.
Before an Alachua County workshop on the state of black education last October, task force member Kali Blount told the Gainesville Sun that ignoring black history leads to negative societal effects. "History is the ego of a community," he said.
A lack of understanding and appreciation for black history is a big reason black youths fall into drugs and develop a mistrust of police and authority figures.
Unfortunately, African-Americans no longer take it upon themselves to teach black history to their children. During the civil rights movement, black celebrities like Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown were outspoken about not only being treated the same as whites but also the important roles of black civilizations.
I was with Miami-Dade school board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall last year when she gave children at Brownsville Elementary a history lesson about the Liberty Square housing projects. She let them know that white people were the ones who first called Liberty Square "Pork 'n' Beans" because they claimed that was the only food poor black people could afford.
Jewish kids grow up knowing about the Holocaust, and Cuban children in Miami learn about Castro's revolution. They use that history as motivation to form a better society. African-Americans need to know where they came from to decide their future path.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
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