TO: Congressional Black Caucus, Chairwoman Joyce Beatty, Congressional Black Caucus Committee on Education & the Workforce, Representative Bobby Scott, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, House Education & Labor Committee, House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, President Joe Biden, Director of Public Engagement and Senior Advisor to President Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor Symone Sanders, Deputy Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Director Susan Rice, Deputy Director Catherine Lhamon, First Lady Jill Biden, Representative Danny Davis, Representative Frederica Wilson, Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, Representative Bobby Rush, Representative Gwen Moore, Representative Alma Adams, Representative Brenda Lawrence, Representative A. Donald McEachin, Representative Joe Neguse, Representative Jahana Hayes
America, it’s time to tell the truth and teach the truth about Black history
American history education, and more specifically Black history education, is failing to meet the societal challenges of the moment. Incomplete state social studies standards and inaccurate history textbooks, along with culturally insensitive teaching methods, have allowed for generational perpetuation of misinformation and racist stereotypes about Black people. This has fueled the ignorance, hatred and racism our nation continues to struggle with today. This educational malpractice has done a major disservice to all students and severe damage to Black students.
America, it’s time to tell the truth and teach the truth.
Either you believe in accurately educating children or you condone lying to them.
We are demanding that:
- The United States Congress pass national legislation that mandates all PreK-12 schools in all 50 states teach students a year-round 21st-century Black history curriculum
- The United State Congress condition all state educational funding allocations upon 100% compliance with new federal Black history standard mandates
- National Black history standards be created that teach all aspects of Black history, including the truth about the enslavement of Black people, white supremacy and systemic racism
- Black history experts (Black educators, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Black studies programs, Black museums, Black historians) write the national standards
- Black history experts and qualified Black-owned businesses be contracted to create new 21st-century Black History curriculum and teaching materials, per the national standards
- All school districts hire Black teachers, Black principals and Black student counselors commensurate with the percentage of PreK-12 Black students in their public school population, at a minimum
- Black teachers be hired across all subjects and Black History teachers be proficient per the national Black History standards
- All school districts partner with local Black history experts (Black studies programs, archives, HBCUs, historic sites, landmarks, libraries, museums) to help teach all students
- Funding these initiatives is prioritized, and budgets are seeded with dollars reallocated away from militarizing and expanding police departments on the federal level
- All Governors, Chief State School Officers, Mayors and local school board officials re-imagine Black History education in their states, cities and towns and prioritize, support and help fund these efforts with dollars reallocated away from militarizing and expanding police departments on the state and local levels, including school police
- All Governors and local governments condition all local educational funding allocations on 100% compliance with new federal Black history mandates
Why Is This Important?
In most schools Black history is only taught one month a year, during Black History Month. Black history is treated like a separate aspect of American history as opposed to a foundational, integral element. The Black experience in America spans 401 years and is replete with achievement and contribution that has helped shape this country. Black people were America’s first “essential workers.” The origins and economic prosperity of this country were built upon Black labor. Black people have played a central role in every era of American history since its founding. Black people have been and continue to be instrumental in pushing America closer to the fulfillment of its promise of becoming a more perfect union. However, Black History curriculum typically only focuses on slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, topics that receive cursory coverage at best.