This is America, yet history taught in schools are mostly focused on Europeans coming to America raiding the land, taking the land away from Native Americans and then embracing slavery of Africans that were robbed of their lives. That’s pretty much all that’s taught in schools in relation to America as a whole. One of the first things most people remember of their childhood is learning about the Mayflower. While the Mayflower was one of the first ships here in America, the target focus talks about migration.
The most impacting war that happened on American soil is the Civil War. After the signing of the constitution, African Americans had to fight for equality. If all men were created equal, why were they being sold, bought, and seeing their families being broke up. African Americans have a long history of oppression and the Civil War was the first step toward the healing process. Even today, it’s not done because of what’s happening in Baltimore. Even after they’ve been guaranteed their right to vote (Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 solidified this) African Americans are still expressing racism and racial discrimination on a daily base.
As an American child (regardless of race), it is very important that history not repeat itself. That is what Mississippi is leading ahead of the rest of the country on. The state has become the first state to implement a Civil Rights Curriculum for students from K-12.
Black History Month is often the only time children hear about African Americans and what they’ve done to help children today have the future they have. Not to say the battle is over. It is far from over, but with the ability to hear about people that faced the same type of oppression they are going through on a daily basis, just might help children fight society’s idea of their future and become successful.
Students often have to take it upon themselves to do some studying on their own time to learn more about the important parts of their history. That is no longer the case in Mississippi. The state had similar thoughts and wanted to address the problem. There would be no more single classes on civil rights or embracing of African American history only during Black History Month. Civil rights lessons are required for students from K-12 grade all across the state (Associated Press).
John Paola emphasized that their high school history classes needed the emphasis on the civil rights struggle of America’s south in 2010. This law had been signed in 2006 by Governor Haley Barbour however it took them five years to start to enforce it in all public schools.
While this has been required since 2011, teachers are saying across the state that those lessons are uneven at best, sometimes non existent. There is no specific training for teachers and there is no tracking methods in how little or how much civil rights education is being taught. Each school district is left to their discretion on how they would teach those students. While it seems like a widespread failure, there is no reason why setting new standards wouldn’t help fix this problem.
Part of calling attention to solutions for our country as a whole, educators in Mississippi agree that the civil rights movement holds important and invaluable lessons for all students, in both local history and civics. African Americans are often faced with dark discrimination and hatred from others but if they just knew what kind of rich history their ancestors have left behind for them, they’d realize that sticks and stones don’t matter. Not with everything that everybody has gone through for them.
Don’t let history repeat itself. The only way to avoid history repeating itself is to learn all about it and know what mistakes were made. Avoid the mistakes, and go forward at full speed! That’s what this country needs. Perhaps it just might help our country heal and learn how to work together.