The Lack of Black Triumph in History Curriculum

A conservative argument for the benefit behind social studies & history education is that it is a source of national pride for students. Reading triumphs, which tend to be military, economic, and political, are meant to be fed to students for a steady diet that grows patriotism. Q1. If we take the conservative argument to be true, why does curriculum not include more stories of black triumph?

In his book The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, James Anderson describes how the ex-enslaved and black Americans fought against tremendous odds to create opportunities in education (Anderson, 1988, pp. 10-11, 18, 21, 23, 26, 28, 56-57, 72, 77, 98, 110, 145). In many ways the challenges faced were much greater than the ones that were against are traditional captains of industry, war heroes, or politicians. Q2. How can power structures be redesigned for the purpose of ensuring stories like Anderson’s be incorporated into our state and national curriculum?

“Even when the bureau reopened its schools, private schools for black pupils continued to spring up outside its control. Enrollment in schools grew rapidly and actually exceeded the number registered in the bureau’s system” (Anderson, 1988. p. 10).

I admire the resilience and dedication of early black Americans for fighting injustice through collective action. This statement offers evidence that black Americans possessed great agency, and although faced terrifying resistance, they found success.

An 1868 engraving of “James’s Plantation School” in North Carolina. This freedmen’s school is possibly one of those established by Horace James on the Yankee or Avon Hall plantations in Pitt County in 1866. North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library.

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