Educators face challenges with teaching Black history

Jamiese Price Image
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Teaching African American history in schools
"We cannot let fear dictate how we move. It's too much at stake. Our children's livelihoods and safety are at stake," Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock said.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's a battle brewing on how students are taught race, racism, and America's dark past.

"Historically, the lives and the experiences, the contributions, the oppression of Black people have been excluded from curriculum, and we've had a Eurocentric curriculum, and so that erasure causes harm, that erasure of Black contributions, and Black involvement in our history, contributes to devaluing Black lives. And it's under a false reality because we were present," explained Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock.

She is a former high school teacher in Durham and is now the executive director of We Are, working to extend anti-racist education. The nonprofit provides anti-racism training for children, families, and educators.

Her work comes as school districts deal with efforts to restrict education on racism, bias, and contributions of specific racial groups to U.S. history.

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"We cannot let fear dictate how we move. It's too much at stake. Our children's livelihoods and safety are at stake. Our own safety is at stake in this current movement. And so we have to decide which side of history we will be on. And I've decided to be on the right side," continued Bullock.

"AP is not going to be undaunted by some political maneuvering in one administration in one state," said Dr. Lee Baker. He is a professor of African and African American Studies at Duke University. He also served as a consultant for the College Board, as they prepared the AP African Studies course curriculum.

"I am not surprised that education can be divisive and partisan. But I'm, I'm delighted that the College Board has seen an opportunity and understands the value of African American Studies. And having this comprehensive framework, which is open to the public. It's very comprehensive, as the guiding post for high school students to engage at this level to get college credit just like chemistry," Baker explained.

Dr. Baker, like Dr. Bullock, said exploring African-American studies adds value for all students.

"Whether it's history, whether it's music, whether it's military, whether it's in the entrepreneurship space, African Americans are an integral part of the American fabric. And by taking that out, somehow, you are missing an important part of the American experience," said Baker.