A Reminder to Re-Examine the Curriculum
Tali Raviv, PhD
NCS3 Co-PI and Midwest Regional Co-Director, Center for Childhood Resilience
“Mommy, how old were you when you learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre?” This was the question recently posed to me by my fifth grader. For context, she is participating in Battle of the Books with her school. As part of the program, she and a group of classmates are reading a series of books and preparing for a cross-school competition to test their knowledge. One of the books on the list is, Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. As we talked, my daughter expressed surprise that she had reached the ripe old age of 10 before she learned about the horrific events that unfolded in Greenwood in 1921. Imagine her disbelief when I admitted that I had not learned about it until I was an adult, far removed from the K-12 educational system. As a white woman, I have an increasing awareness of the gaps in my historical knowledge and the whitewashing of the history education I received throughout my life. Since 1976, February has been nationally recognized as Black History Month. However, the educational system still has a long way to go towards integration of a more complete historical and contemporary narrative of the experience of Black persons in this country. This narrative must encompass the harsh realities of slavery, segregation, oppression, and violence that still reverberate today. Equally important, however, is celebrating the accomplishments of Black leaders, thinkers, and warriors for justice. Black History Month is a good reminder to re-examine the curriculum in your school and classroom for the equity and representation that should be present all year long.
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