To suggest Black history is some kind of specific offshoot of American history is dangerous and misleading. In the United States, “Black History Month” is highlighted in February. Separating a black history month suggests that is somehow not a part of the totality of American history.
While many children are taught a “sanitized” version of history in school growing up, significant and important examples of who Americans are are left out of the history books. My wife is a middle school history and math teacher in the Everett School District. When I bring up examples of the history I’ve learned in my online classes, she is alternately surprised, shocked, sad, and furious the facts are not shown in school textbooks.
For my own example: I had heard small bits of information about the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, but not much. After seeing “Harriet” in a theater, I learned more about Harriet Tubman than in 12 years of schooling.
We often talk about how students need to learn STEM subjects to succeed in the future. How much further could students achieve if they were given a basic understanding of how we go to this point in our social structure? How easy would it be to explain the current political and social strife if students had the opportunity to see the world through someone else’s experience?
We have an opportunity to change the course of generations of students’ lives by simply including the full history of the United States. We need to include how slavery started, why it started, and what was built on the backs of slave labor. We need to include how American immigrants came to the shores of the United States, and took land from its “owners.” We need to include how Chinese and other Asian people were brought over to create the infrastructure that allowed a few white businessmen to nearly rule the world.
American history is the history of all of us, from the top to the bottom, and we need to know that. Teach all history in schools, all the time. There are enough non-white, new-to-America immigrants that soon, “white history” will be the study of a small minority of American citizens.