Starting in August, some schools across the country will have the option to teach Black history differently.
It is a new course called BlackHistory365 that looks to give a more inclusive context to people and events already taught today.
“We liken it to an educational earthquake that is gently rolling across the nation,” said Joel Freeman, who helped develop the curriculum.
In 2018, Freeman was approached by Walter Milton, a former superintendent in Flint, Michigan, who noticed Black history in school curriculum primarily focused on two time periods: slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.
“It was always slavery, then civil rights, slavery then civil rights,” said Alana Mitchell, a senior at Dr. Martin Luther King Early College, a high school in Denver.
Recently, Mitchell and three of her peers were asked to become student advisors for the BlackHistory365 curriculum in schools across the country. As such, they will oversee the implementation and provide feedback on BH365 in schools and acts as liaisons between BH365 administrators and schools.
“BH365 has given us the baton to run in this generational marathon towards humanity and racial equity,” said Jenelle Nangha, Mitchell’s peer.
“A lot of [the curriculum] came from our personal experiences,” said Milton. “Mine started back in 4th grade when I believed that it was important to really get this out to all the students across the land because of a really bad experience that I had when a teacher [played down] the institution of slavery.”
The new course will delve into African history, Haitian history, and prominent figures who emerged from each, hoping to create a platform for students to discuss critical issues that affect our country today.
“It really changed my perspective on history, how I’m learning in my classroom, and how I feel about history class,” said Nangha.
“We were kings and queens,” added Mitchell. “It was always slavery and civil rights, so to know that [our ancestors] were kings and queens is what really did it for me.”