Teach Black History to Help Prevent Racist Violence

tags: racism, violence, African American history

David Barber is a professor of history at University of Tennessee at Martin.

The cowardly white supremacist killings in Buffalo have underlined the importance of opposing the white supremacist efforts being made to prohibit the teaching of Black history, efforts that in Tennessee have borne fruit in two “education” laws passed over the last two years.

White supremacy requires ignorance to survive. Our Tennessee state legislature and governor have enacted these two “education” laws – last year’s K-12 anti-critical race theory (CRT) legislation and this year’s higher education “divisive concepts” version – precisely to guarantee that our state’s students will never learn the real history of this country.

The goal of both these white supremacist laws: prevent the teaching of Black history in our state. 

We need to be clear: Black history is not simply mentioning George Washington Carver or Rosa Parks or Charles Drew, or even listening to a one-minute innocuous slice of Martin Luther King’s “Dream.”  No, Black history is seeing the whole of American history through the eyes of Black people. 

Black history is seeing slavery through the eyes of the child Frederick Douglass witnessing his Aunt Hester being mercilessly whipped by Douglass’s enraged and jealous master.

It is seeing slavery through the eyes of the slaves whose little Sunday school is broken up by shouting and cursing white men, incensed because these slaves were trying to learn to read, their text, the Bible. 

Read entire article at Nashville Tennessean

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