What Some Black Parents Are Doing To Ensure Their Children Learn Black History

Photos: YouTube Screenshots\Wikimedia Commons

After Florida banned an AP African American history class earlier this year, Akil King scrambled to find a way to bridge the gap for his 16-year-old daughter.

Taking a Black history course in college had raised his self-esteem, said King, and he wanted a similar experience for Abyssinia, who is named after the ancient term for Ethiopia. He signed her up for a new 10-week course over the summer that served up lessons on African kingdoms and the Black Panthers — the civil rights group, not the movie characters.

“Not a lot of people know that there were great ancient African kingdoms with riches and with huge civilizations and power and culture,” Abyssinia said. “It was really, really cool to get a better understanding of that.”

Across the country, the teaching of Black history has been put under a microscope. In Florida, new standards require teachers to say that enslaved people may have benefited from skills learned in slavery, and the state banned the Advanced Placement class on African American history after determining it “lacks educational value.” Texas has banned the teaching of critical race theory, and nationwide, libraries are pulling books off the shelves that contain diverse characters. Conservatives say they are protecting White children from feeling guilty for racist acts and from being indoctrinated with liberal ideology.

But Black parents who object to the changes say they worry their children aren’t learning enough about their history, an important part of building their self-esteem. Some have begun signing up their children for extra classes, buying supplementary textbooks or giving at-home lessons.

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