Ignoring African American History

By: Mone’t Gildon
It is finally February and there are a few things that get on my nerves. Other than Valentine’s Day that gets on my nerves because I’m single, it is the fact that it is black history month and throughout my high school and part of middle school education I learned barely anything about my African American history. I remember learning some of African American history by a few brave teachers who made sure that it wasn’t completely ignored. There is really no reason why I haven’t learned more about African Americans who have changed the course of history. When it is taught, it is glossed over and skimmed because it is such a touchy subject or they need to follow the lesson plan.
Upon realizing that you aren’t going to learn about African American history “in depth”, the solution you are told is that you can take it in college. While it is great opportunity to learn about African American history in college, college is not when you should be learning about history. We should be learning about it throughout our schooling. There should be lessons from grade school to college so all children, especially African American children can learn about their heritage and culture. History is not always pretty, but that does not mean we should not teach its ugly parts.
There have been many influential African Americans and yet we only learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and a hand full of others. There are African American authors, musicians, inventors, educators, and scientists. While I understand that it is a sensitive topic, there is no excuse for students to learn about the Holocaust and not about the civil rights movement. We learn little to nothing about African American history and when we do learn it, it is only a fragment of the whole history. The African American civil rights movement and slavery has practically become a taboo topic for the very reason of awkwardness. The history itself is bloody, graphic, and in its very nature torturous and demeaning. The very thought of talking about it is cringe worthy, yet we let that fear control us into teaching around that very part of America’s history.
We shy around discussing African American history but many other movements taking place around the world have been birthed from the civil rights movement. Many people know little about African American history other than the emancipation proclamation and the civil rights movement. The lack of acknowledgment of how African Americans impacted American history is something that should be fixed. Not only are we not learning about African American history, we are leaving out key parts of our country’s history. We are missing key events that can change the lives of the current and future generations.