The exclusion of Black history in the curriculum diminishes the numerous contributions of African Americans throughout the past and present. School curriculums often influence students to believe at a young age that Black people did not contribute much to the world outside of the civil rights movement and slavery. However, this narrative is far from the truth.
The initial education system was built to uphold the ideology of white supremacy. The current education system still resembles the past system that allowed unjust notions of racial superiority to persist. School curriculums typically focus solely on white history with little or no references to African American contributions. American history books rarely ever give proper recognition to African Americans and their achievements. African Americans built the United States. In fact, the United States would not be nearly as industrialized without the efforts of African Americans. Instead of informing young minds about the realities and origins of the United States, history books would rather idealize and glorify white oppressors. Christopher Columbus is one of the most notorious oppressors who is glorified by history books and K-12 schools throughout the United States, while also having a federal holiday. Not only did Columbus murder and enslave millions of Indigenous people, he was not the first person to discover America. Historical evidence proves that Columbus was among the last explorers to reach America. The only thing that Columbus managed to do was be the first of these explorers to cause a mass genocide of peaceful Indigenous people.
So, why would the United States go through so much to make Columbus into a hero that he obviously is not? America was built on a system of oppression and white supremacy. Therefore, the creation of white false heroes are prevalent within the education system to uphold the very system that America was established on. If you do your research you will find that many of the historical narratives you were told to believe in school are false and deceptive. The truth is America was constructed in a way to make African Americans and minorities be seen as inferior at a young age. What students are taught in school is only one of the many methods that strive to diminish the numerous contributions of African Americans throughout the past and present. I believe we should push for the curriculum to include more Black historical figures not only in American History but also in European History.
From elementary school to high school, I can not recall many instances where Black historical figures were referenced in my history classes. Yet, there are many notable Black people who typically do not get the deserved acknowledgement in history classes. Richard Allen, Robert Abbott, Benjamin Davis Sr., Katherine Johnson, Matthew Henson, and Charlotte E. Ray are a few of the numerous Black historical figures in American History. Olaudah Equiano, Queen Charlotte, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Allan Glaisyer Minns are just a few of the many Black historical figures who notably impacted European History. I have only touched the surface of the vast amount of Black excellence within history that school curriculums do not include nor teach.
The education system is one of the many tools that America can use to build a future where racial injustice is not tolerated. People must be accurately informed of the history and contributions of Black people around the world. The lack of Black representation in the curriculum is an issue we must address and push to be reformed to change the narrative in America because Black history matters.
Click here to sign a petition to include more Black history and contributions in the K-12 curriculum for Alabama schools.