Black History Month and Social Studies: A Different Path

As February comes to an end, an article written last year by Joel A Johnson’s One-Track Mind Storytelling comes to mind. He stressed the need to look for uplifting stories rather than repeating the narratives about often-heard heroes, and depressing subject matter; year after year…after year.

60 Minutes aired a story segment recently about a middle school social studies teacher who uses an approach like the suggestion in Johnson’s article.

Three students were interviewed and confirmed that from kindergarten to the sixth grade they learned about the same historic people over and over including, entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker.

The students’ present social studies teacher includes in her curriculum a vast, diverse digital library titled The HistoryMakers: Documenting untold stories of African American achievement. Established in 1999 and archived in the Library of Congress it catalogs the oral stories of notable African Americans. For instance, Barak Obama, a Tuskegee Airman, famous sports figures, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, academics, and countless others.

Students are introduced to Black history achievements they never knew about. And the students pick and study people who overcame adversity and succeeded.



New Content for Black History Month: A solution to what society often overlooks. February 22, 2022, Dee Adams.

The History Makers: Documenting untold stories of African American achievement, February 19, 2023, Bill Whitaker. Student comments 10:15-11:09.

When Black Women Used Hair Braids to Escape Slavery: A history lesson in brilliance and resilience, January 5, 2022.



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