Schools Must Teach Black History

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By Hannah Smith

To many Americans, February is synonymous with Black History Month. This month aims to recognize and celebrate the many black achievements that were previously erased from our history books. Harvard scholar Dr. Carter Woodson proffered this month of recognition and it has been recognized by every American President since 1976. However, despite 41 years having passed since its conception, I have yet to see the integration of black history into our mainstream education and daily news. I’m not saying that there hasn’t been progress—forward motion is evident in the prominent people of color (POC) gracing Google’s doodles as well as the movie Hidden Figures, which highlights the contributions of black women in STEM. However, beyond the black community and Donald Trump’s brief obligatory remarks, our white peers have made little notice of this important month. Celebrating Black History is extremely important, especially in this time of racial tension and religious bias. Only awareness can combat ignorance. Highlighting those who came before us as contributors to our worldwide community will raise that awareness. Ms. Hunter, B-CC’s newest English teacher, emphasized this point: “Black History is more than the civil rights movement,” she said. Hunter stressed that we need to make Black History “a part of the societal norm when we talk about the fabrics of past, current and future of American society.” Few people outside the black community recognize—let alone celebrate— Black History Month, black excellence, or our nation’s “hidden figures.” This is mainly due to a lack of attention in our school system. As class schedules become bogged down and our curriculum becomes packed, no space is left to celebrate what should be a prominent month in our school year. Junior Ari Fiorino confirmed: “You don’t learn much about black history in high school; there isn’t a certain class where we learn about it,” he said. Fiorino claimed that though “we learned about it in elementary school,” we do not learn about Black History Month now. Our schools place little importance on this month and it is therefore treated as an afterthought rather than a forefront issue. Senior Amen Hailu asserted, “I believe that there are many inspirational and talented black people we as students deserve to learn about.” So as we celebrate Black History Month this year, I encourage the education system to carefully consider the way we overlook important black historical figures and celebrate this month as intended.

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