Opinion: Teaching History


As we all know the month of February is dedicated to black history and the spread of the knowledge of African American history and yet again, another whole month goes by with little significance to the black history. Honestly I feel as if I have learned nothing or there has not been an effort to inform our students on anything in African American history this past month. Reminiscing on my entire high school career, as senior who has spent all four years here at Truman, I can not think of a particular time in any class where a teacher brought up even the slightest mention of this observance, and that fact is quite atrocious.

I can remember in World History, sophomore year, being taught about the Eurocentric history, its dynasties and their rises and falls, and all the way to the Aztecs and Mayan dynasties. The only part of Africa’s history that I do remember being taught about is the brief explanation on how it was once a material and knowledge rich continent then an elongated explanation on how it would be acculturated, stripped, enslaved, and taken over for years at a time by many different countries. I’ve always felt that is the brief explanation on Africa because the destruction of this place was the beginning of these other great time periods and places that we spend so much time studying. Which I’m not the one to be ignorant to the fact that this is how the world works, one power falls for the next to rise.

My only problem with this type of educating sequence and direction of history is the fact that it gives the people of this history a certain perhaps unconscious psychological stigma. This being the stigma that their future is only destined to be as fruitful as their past and nothing more. If you just break down the word history, you are saying his-story. If African American people knew that their story is deeper, richer and knowledgeable just as the other cultures, if not more maybe that would be a change in the culture, or just a few select students that are properly informed would be a difference.

Vice President of Righteous Mind Society, senior Syrell Thorpe said, “African history goes so far back, and has influenced so many other cultures it is crazy that we don’t hear more about it than its demise. That’s the reason this club was started, to inform those that wanted to be informed on our history.”  

American history, or even world history I think should be started off in the motherland, the place life comes from. Reason being is because this is where the oldest artifacts of man are found, also where most original technological ideas, spiritual, agricultural and advancements derived from. Africa is perhaps one of the most resourceful continents in the world, with the richest history, yet a history that’s so suppressed in our education system.

Categories: Opinion

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