How Social Media and Community Schools Could Fill in Gaps Teaching Black HistoryBreaking News
tags: social media, African American history
Every day in February, 22-year-old Kamryn Davis posts a video on TikTok highlighting underreported Black history facts. She covers figures like Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, the first woman pitcher in the Negro League in the 1950s, and Mary Church Terrell, an educator who fought for women’s suffrage and civil rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“I was tired of also seeing the same things being talked about each February. We only focus on certain things, and it’s usually the gloomy aspects of Black history,” said Davis, who is a senior majoring in political science at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. “I decided I’m going to talk about Black history facts people didn’t learn in school and try to talk about our positive contributions that we’ve made, because that’s something that needs to be pushed out more.”
Davis’s page, which has more than 100,000 followers, is one of many platforms across social media with a similar mission to publicize lesser-known Black history left out by mainstream, Eurocentric school curricula. In response to a recent wave of political backlash seeking to restrict Black history education, more people are looking to social media, museums, bookstores and community education programs to fill in knowledge gaps.
Since September 2020, public officials at the local, state and federal levels have introduced more than 500 measures to limit instruction about race, racism and how each shapes U.S. society, according to a tracker from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Last month, Florida rejected a pilot Advanced Placement course in African-American studies that would have included lessons on intersectionality, Black queer studies and the Movement for Black Lives.
In many ways, recent political tension is a new iteration of a centuries-long push and pull between people in positions of power and Black communities demanding better access and inclusivity in education. Today as in the past, Black people have found ways to challenge the status quo and create their own systems to serve their needs.
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