Unless considering what northern European pioneer families have come from, there is not much diversity at Utah Valley. This lack of diversity can cause uneasiness and a certain degree of ignorance when it comes to Black History Month.
When asked what the school curriculum is for Alpine School District, the response was that it was up to each teacher to individually prepare his or her outline, but it was not mandatory. Several schools refused comment or failed to return calls.
The failure to teach about African-American history is not only a local problem. The stories of many Black patriots throughout American history are slowly being erased and lost from consciousness all over the U.S.
In 1855, William C. Nell became the first African-American historian when he wrote “Colored Patriots of the Revolution.” His book chronicled dozens of Black heroes of the first century of our nation’s history and
was a standard textbookuntil the Woodrow Wilson administration.
Wilson’s overhaul of the school system removed that book and began the decline of our nation’s awareness of the efforts of Black patriots. Wilson also re-segregated the army and was the first president to show a film at the White House. The movie was “The Birth of a Nation” which was boycotted by the NAACP and was a KKK recruitment video.
Public schools have boiled black history down to a day learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman. Both are iconic figures, yet black history has so much more depth and richness to it than is being taught in K-12. The Federalization of our schools has failed to meet its goals and has robbed students of knowing some of the greatest stories our nation has to offer.
Whether intentional or accidental, public schools have not emphasized or made an effort to teach the history that has made America the destination of choice for people of all nationalities. The Internet has become the safe haven for knowledge and when done properly and sources verified, there has never been more truth available to any people in the history of earth.
Learning about the rich history of minorities not only broadens horizons – it also brings a baseline of understanding for human interactions. Nothing eases ignorance like knowledge and personal understanding of where we all come from. With the failure of schools to teach it falls upon individuals to educate themselves.
By Jonathan Boldt