Black History Month: should teachers focus more on the month in their curriculum?


The month of February is an important time for many reasons. In the month of February, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day and Superbowl Sunday.

However, many people forget that the entirety of February is Black History Month, a time where we, as Americans, are called to remember times where races divided us and our actions towards those who were different defined who we were.

“There are a plethora of things that can be taught about black history,” senior Dorothy Kyei said. “We will never get past barriers if we allow people to gravitate and remain ignorant.”

It seems frustrating to many students that the history of African Americans and their ancestry is not taught more in schools.

“I find it a shame that there isn’t an African-American history class offered in school, but there is a European history class,” Kyei said. “We learn enough about European history; let’s add more diversity to it.”

Many students see Black History Month as a time to bring about change in today’s society, where they believe racism is still a huge problem.

“It is such a vital part of history and is still relevant in today’s society,” senior Drew Lashay said. “Oppression and racism are still rampant to this day, and in order to understand how it has evolved and hopefully put a stop to it, we must look to the past and not make those same mistakes.”

Students believe that if teachers shed more light on past events in the African-American community, people would find things in history that they never knew about.

“If teachers were to focus more on Black History Month, they would unearth hidden gems in black history,” Kyei said. “They would teach us about rich African culture, learn why certain words are so offensive to the black race and understand the true extent of oppression as best as they could.”

When teachers do teach about black history, it is often only at lower grade levels, and it is usually only about one person.

“They usually teach about Martin Luther King, but Black History Month is more than that,” junior Sade Ford said.

There are so many things that could be taught about black history, such as slavery, segregation and the Harlem Renaissance.

“I was only really educated about the Harlem Renaissance in my English class,” Kyei said. “Jazz is something that is an extraordinary form of artistic expression. That in itself could reawaken a culture to the musical genius of the genre.”

More than just art, teachers could enlighten students on the strength of the black race.

“They should teach us that black people aren’t and weren’t helpless,” Ford said. “They should teach us about all the things black people have invented to help the world become a better place and that America was built off the backs of slaves.”

Some teachers completely disregard the importance of historical figures like Martin Luther King on how we live today.

“I had a teacher say that she would rather have come to school on Martin Luther King Day,” Kyei said. “She saw no importance in commemorating an icon.”

More than just teachers, some students at Northwest do not think twice before they throw around racial slurs.

“Ignorance and white privilege is riddled in the minds of so many people here,” Kyei said. “I have heard the ‘n’ word too many times when people are talking to each other.”

Learning about Black History Month is more than just learning history, it’s about breeding love into the hearts of the American people.

“We need to birth diversity and decrease ignorance not only about blacks but about all people of color,” Kyei said.