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It’s no secret: American homeschoolers are predominantly white. And as white folks, there is a lot about black history that we do not know and do not understand.
Our history books are primarily written by white authors and feature the white perspective of history. Despite the fact that the history and perspective of all Americans is what makes the complete story, we often only get the white pieces and just a few of the other ones.
In the world of the arts, one could easily come to the conclusion that such things were solely the domain of White Men, forever and ever. Yet I have discovered prominent women artists from as far back as the Renaissance. I’ve discovered Black composers that pre-date Mozart. I researched and found many beautiful works of art featuring Black people that are normally overlooked. (Get it here) Men and women of so many races and nationalities have been creating, inventing, and exploring since time began! But you’d never know it, would you?
There seems to be a lot of pressure to Not Mess It Up when talking about race issues, yet it also seems that there is always somebody willing to point out how it’s been done wrong. It has been intimidating to me to see how much criticism there is for people that are Doing It Wrong when they dare to bring up race issues. My attempts may be clumsy. I am not an expert on this. However, I believe that this is important, so I’m talking about it. Hopefully you all can hear my intent to be an encouragement in this periscope broadcast I did.
The two biggest reasons I know of to make sure we’re learning about and teaching black history in our homeschools:
- It isn’t just “Black History.” It’s History. A wider, true, more well-rounded version, particularly important for Americans. (making it a priority to learn about the experiences of other non-white-male perspectives will also make your knowledge of history truer, wider, and more well-rounded! Women’s history, Native American history, immigrants from everywhere, and so on)
- Understanding Black History helps us have a somewhat better understanding of current events and racial issues today. It’s related. And it matters.
- This is one way I can help fight racism. I forgot to talk about this on the scope, but it matters to me very much that my children go out into the world as a force for good, and that includes fighting racism. As homeschoolers in our area of the country, we don’t often have local opportunities to be activists, but I can at least continue to make myself and my children aware of things that are going on and things that have gone on throughout history, in an effort to not repeat history and to make this world a better place going forward.
Resources that may be helpful to you:
Austin Channing’s Blog: Lots here, including a series for Black History Month.
Learn more about The Negro Traveler’s Green Book, a publication that provided African American motorists and tourists with the information they would need to board, dine, and sightsee safely and comfortably during the era of segregation. More on the Green Book here.
Courageous Black Lives series at Caris Adel’s blog:
Benjamin Banneker and Music from Slavery