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This Juneteenth, Deepen Your Understanding of the History of Slavery with Reading

From the ArtsBoston Blog...

For most adults educated in America, and especially for white individuals, the history of slavery was taught through unreliable sources. Textbooks used in schools often reduce slavery to a single chapter in our nation’s story instead of examining how it has permeated American society from its foundation to our current moment. White teachers make up 80 percent of the 3.7 million educators in America, and this majority plays a direct role in deciding how textbooks are selected and used.

In her 2019 essay for The New York Times Magazine, Nikita Stewart points out that, “Unlike math and reading, states are not required to meet academic content standards for teaching social studies and United States history. That means that there is no consensus on the curriculum around slavery, no uniform recommendation to explain an institution that was debated in the crafting of the Constitution, and that has influenced nearly every aspect of American society since.” Stewart’s piece was met with a response that compiled first-person accounts from former students who describe how their lessons left them with a mixture of gaps in knowledge, misinformation, and prejudices to unpack and fight against later in life.

This Juneteenth, think about what it would look like to change the way our culture engages with the history of slavery. How can we uplift stories of peoples that are left out of incomplete narratives? What resources can we use to pass down a more accurate canon to our descendants?

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