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  • Keisha Bentley-Edwards, PhD

We Can Do Better - Teaching Black History Month

Every year, I re-post my Time Magazine Op-Ed on how Black History Month, and Black American History in general is taught. Spoiler alert, we can do better. This is especially relevant in the face of attacks Black history, critical race theory, and critiques of White American status quo.

A favorite segment from this piece -

"Incessantly reciting lists of black inventions and firsts without discussing the contexts of the accomplishments provides only a shell of what Carter G. Woodson intended when he initiated our annual celebration of black people. For example, Benjamin Banneker, who was a freeman and prolific scientist, is most often recognized for being a key surveyor of Washington, D.C. What is not typically discussed is that he gained much of his scientific knowledge from his formerly enslaved father, who was from a learned Wolof family. The Wolof people (in present day Senegal) are an ethnic group that was once part of the Songhai Empire — known for its cultural and intellectual hubs. This context provides insight about how Banneker, with little formal education, would become a scientist and surveyor, among other accomplishments."


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