Why Aren't African Americans Included In History Classes Taught In School?

Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker

February is Black History Month, which will be celebrated in my daughter's school. Each child will be part of a play or give a small speech about someone and what they did to help America become what it is today. My daughter decided to do a speech. My daughter has Aspurger's and Syndrome goes to a school that teaches children who have Autism or Aspergers. She needs help with her speech, so since my school had never taught me anything about what African Americans, I went online. I found so much information that I was shocked. When I asked about the school she went to she went to before this she told me, that school never even mentioned African Americans at all. There are pages and pages about what African Americans have done to help the U.S.A. but none of this is taught in school. Why is that? Even though our president is black/white are we still a racist nation? I don't know. So, what I have decided to do, is list some of the achievements in our country that African Americans have done, that some know and some do not know.

1) Josephine Baker an actress who was born in America Became a citizen of France in 1937. During WWII she gave military intelligence to America's French allies. She did this by pinning small pieces of paper to her dress and writing in invisible ink.

2) Harry Belafante was the man who came up with the name of the song " We are the world" which became the the most popular song in history. This song made 20 million dollars world wide and helped more people that we even know about.

3) W.E.D. du Bois and William Milliam Monroe Trotter started the Niagara Movement, a black civil rights organization movement which got it's first name from the place were they held their first meeting. Niagara Falls. Later the name was changed permanently to NAACP.

4) Jessie Jackson did many things to help America. He successfully negotiated the release of Lieutenant Robert O. Goldman, Jr an African American pilot who had been shot down an taken hostage in Syria in 1983. The way he did this was fly to Syria and spoke with Syrian President Hafaz-al Assad. Jessie Jackson also went to Cuba and negotiated the release of 22 Americans who had been invited to Cuba by Fidel Castro. And on the evening of 1991 during the Persian Gulf War, Jackson traveled to Iraq to plead with Saddam Hussein, for the release of the " Human Shield" Jessie Jackson secured the release of several British and 20 Americans.

5) Andrew Jackson Beard invented the Jenny Coupler in 1897, which is a device that allowed train cars to hook themselves together. This saved the lives of many workers who had the jobs of hooking the cars together by hand.

6) Otis Boykin invented electronic control devices for guided missiles, IBM computers, and the control of pacemakers.

7) History has given credit to Thomas Edison for the invention of the light bulb, why aren't we taught that Lewis Latimer's innovations towards it's developments? Until Latimer's process for making carbon filaments, Edison's light bulbs would only burn for minutes. Latimer's would burn for hours.

8) Elijah McCoy invented automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines in in 1872. The term " The real McCoy" Came from a reference about the reliability of Elijah McCoy's invention.

So, my question is, why aren't we taught about these these things in school? How come the wonderful and very brave things Jessie Jackson has done have not been honored? Are we still racist, and how much racist are we?

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Comments 38 comments

rabbit75 profile image

rabbit75 4 years ago

Michelle, once again thank you for this hub and sharing this hub...even writing about this topic should be commended for it is quite a touchy topic.

I believe there are many factors that contribute to this question. Cut backs in education should be noted as a factor that contributes to this.

I didn't learn much about anything in high school about any minorities that contributed to U.S. History. In fact, I didn't learn much about the Irish immigrants or Italian immigrants contributions either. I remember there was just a paragraph about the Irish and Chinese helping to build the railroads. Plop, off to the next subject.

There was such a backlash with affirmative action as well. Some high schools (I had already graduated by then) were starting to incorporate African American books for English studies.

There's a great movie called American History X that kind of brings up this question. It's a really grim topic, and details the rise of Neo Naxi skin head gangs in San Diego, which is their birth place. There is a scene in that movie that discusses a part of what you're asking.

I think the education system really saves ethnic contributions within U.S. History for when you go to college. I had to take some kind of ethnic studies course as well as women's studies.

I'm glad they do. There's a lot of stuff about U.S. History that isn't taught in high school. I think the elementary and high school level really just touches on the basics of U.S. History.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Yes, I know it is touchy, so it might even be ignored but that is ok for me. But, American history is so important ( at least I think so ). American History X sounds interesting. I would like to see it, thank you for that reference, and thank you for your comment.


logic,commonsense 4 years ago

George Washington Carver is one of my heroes for what he did with plant genetics. However, I have never really thought of him in the context of being black. I know that he is, but his contributions, to me, eclipse race. I guess that is how I look at anyone. Their race, gender, religion is not criteria for judgement. How they deport themselves as an individual, how they contribute to those around them should be the true basis on how one is considered. Just my opinion.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

You have a very good opinion. Thank you for your comment, it is a very good one.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great hub Michele,

I wrote a hub about Scott Joplin. He was a very talented individual who lived during a difficult period for African Americans in our country.

Take care

John


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Thank you John, I re-hubed this today because I think I wrote it too early. Hope it was not a mistake. Guess I will find out soon. I will also check out your hub. Thanks!


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

Thanks for the education Michele.

Rabbit75 took the words right out of my mouth. American History X is a powerful film dealing with a controversial topic. Edward Norton gives an amazing performance.A must see!

Shared the hub. Nice work as always...^ & interesting


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

gjf Thanks, I am going to find and watch that film. Thank you so much for sharing. It is something friends do a lot.


NayNay2124 profile image

NayNay2124 4 years ago

Very good hub Michelle. African Americans have contributed so much to this society and all Americans should be educated about this. America is made up of all different cultures and races, and maybe if we were better educated about each other, there wouldn't be so much hate. Voted up!


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Thank you NayNay I do wish we could all be together as a human race and not hate each other just because of the color of our skin. It amazes me when this happens.


pcoach 4 years ago

Well, I certainly don't know what schools you guys are going to. I went to Catholic school in Illinois and learned about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry Blair, Thomas Jennings, to name a few. I guess the answer is that Catholic schools provide a very rounded education. The flip side is that public schools are run by the federal government. Need I say more?

This is not a reflection on Americans. This is a reflection on our government and particularly democrats who didn't even want the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Get the government out of our way and just imagine the things about which we could learn.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

pcoach thank you for your comment and a very good comment. That is another thing the school I went to did not teach me. We could learn so much more. No, you do not need to say more. Your comment is fantastic.


Express10 profile image

Express10 4 years ago from East Coast

There are many people who create the texts and some who teach that choose to ignore this and other parts of American History. Those in charge of ordering the materials also play a role in what is or is not published by making certain requests ahead of each writing and printing cycle. Better in their minds to suppress what makes them uncomfortable than to create a truly open environment of learning. I believe that is the wrong thing to do but the really good parents of all races take at least a bit of time to introduce some of this information to their children. There are many great contributions such as the ironing board, pacemaker, streetlights, and many other things and ideas that African Americans have given to society. Great hub.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

@ Express10 This is something my father did. He did explain to me that African Americans did a lot to make the U.S.A become what it is today. For that I am thankfull.

You have written a wonderful comment.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

Michele you have raised a very good point. One person you did not mention, who my son owes his life to is Dr. Charles Drew, a Black physician who sometime in the 1930s or early 40s developed the method of separating blood plasma from blood cells and storing each separately. The plasma could be kept for weeks. Whole blood would only last for a day or two before it broke down. The blood banks we have today, exist because of his research. When my son was in a near fatal automobile accident, where he was a passenger, he needed several units of blood. Because of Dr. Drew's efforts, the blood was available.

Dr. drew was in an automobile accident in 1950. Legend has it that he was denied entry into a white only hospital. That has been debunked. He died because his injuries were too severe. Regardless, his contribution to medicine has saved thousands upon thousands of lives. My college minor was history, with an emphasis on American history. That fact was never discussed.

My wife, a retired teacher, use to to teach in a basically all white Catholic School. Each year, she taught a unit on Black History and did not receive any complaints from parents. Ironically, a Black teacher who taught at the same school, after my wife had left, did not bother to teach such a unit. Some things are hard to understand.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Larry, thank you so much for your comment. That is wonderful. Thank God, Dr. Drew helped helped your son. I also, appreciate very much that you are one of the people here on hubpages that help me learn more, because even when I was trying to do some research for this hub, Dr. Drew, was one of the people that was not mentioned in any of the articles I read. Another interesting thing is I have two fathers. My biological father who died in 1999 was a teacher at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in the Education Department. He was extremely against racism. In fact, he created an IQ test in which he used words that originated in African American inner city wording. My IQ when I took the test was about 63. He gave it to one of the classes he was teaching and most of the students had an IQ similar to mine. The university would not allow him to publish it. After he died, ( ok I wrote a hub about this, but will tell you anyway) I volunteered at a stable that helped children with disabilities. I became close to the owner, he became like a father to me. The only difference is he is African American. There are so many people who have truly given so much to us, but we have ignored them. It is wrong. Thank you so much for your comment, it is wonderful.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

I hate to use the comment that "some of my best friends are black," but in fact, that is the absolute truth. As you probably know, I lost my job 14 months ago. The only person from my old office that frequently checks on me is the black maintenance man. I have a friend in Washington D.C. that I do not see much, but I know if I had a crisis that involved getting politicians involved, he would be in my corner. I understand the problems your biological father faced--academia is not always open to new ideas and I am glad you have a friend who can help you with your child. I know you had some health issue. I commend you for your efforts. We sometimes disagree, but I am glad I "know" you through this forum.

Larry


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Larry, I am also glad to know through this forum. It is ok to disagree. People do not have to agree on everything. By the way, I am going to pray for you. For God to help you with your job situation. I pray a lot. That is one thing that helps me a lot in life. To be honest Catholic, or not, God is God. And that is what matters.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Michelle, it is interesting article and much producing thoughts. I think there is wasting time in the schools with different activities. Today the academic is failing. The sports or bands are more popular, but the academic should be more important. I am US citizen by naturalization. In my school in Europe we had languages: Latin. French, Russian. We learned privately German and English. In US schools there is Marxism taught and people do not know it. The name Marx is not mentioned. In the old country we do not have black people. When some came to study they become quickly our friends. Perhaps they were different. I remember in one point I want to be missionary to Africa.

Most what is bother me in USA is that it was Christians who founded our country. They gave us concept of freedom, equality and prosperity. In the school this fact is hidden too.

I think it was many Christians who bought Africans from Islamic Arabs who sold the people and I think Americans rescued them and treated them well. It was blessing for black people and they should know this. In the old country I had access to literature before 1920 before our history was rewritten.

I would recommend to black people let them to be set free from slavery orientation.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Your comment is a very good one, although many may not think it is true. Are we being taught Marxism? No way!! That is what people will say. But, you probably already know that. There is much that is not taught in school. Well a lot, but you already know that.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

Michele, as I was catching up on the weekend Hubs, seeing this Hub reminded me of something. When I was in college and editor of the school paper for the 1972 summer session, the school announced it was going to offer a black history program. Well the book was about black history, but not about black American history. It was trying to be a Roots knockoff by tracing the African tribes to specific regions of the continent and did not touch on the issue of slave trading.

As editor of the school paper, I wrote a somewhat scathing editorial saying that while this is important, it was more like a giant family tree and did not give recognition to what the Black population had given to the country. I cited a few examples. The editorial was well received. However, most of the Black students thought one of my copy editors, who was Black, had written it, because a while person could not understand what the black students really wanted in a Black history course. I graduated a year later, but understand that the course was updated to reflect his history of Black people in America as well as the history of Black people in Africa.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

OK.

Hating rich

distribution of wealth

using minority

elimination religion

eliminating family

elimination of monitory system

one world government (globalism).

using woman for their agenda

environmental agenda

control

grabbing power

revolution

losing freedom

Illuminati are crib of communists.

Notice nobody wants to use word communism.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Larry thank you for your comment. I am glad it was updated. It is a good thing that is was well received. As you know I has 2 fathers. My second father became my father after my first father died. It would take too my time to explain in detail. But, my biological father was a professor at Miami University. He created an I.Q. test for the White students by using language that was mostly used by African Americans. My I.Q. was 67 after taking the test. Most of the students in the class had I.Q about the same as mine. The University would not allow him to test any other students in any of his classes. Interesting...


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Vladimir We agree on a lot of things. But, you probably already know this.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

Michele:

I guess I had a very varied college experience. One year I worked in the dish room of one of the dining halls, so I can really say I worked my way through college washing dishes. I was also on most days, the only white person in the dish room. Did not bother me and I made some good friends. We talked frequently about the black language. I just ask them, WHat the heck are you trying to tell me. It got a few laughs, but they would explain. That was when bad was good but good was still good. I do not know how well I would had done on your father's IQ test, but I bet an examination of the test would provide some interest results.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Michele, you are special my sis. I always misspell your name my daughter is also Michelle.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

lol, that is Ok, My name is supposed to be the french version. My family had to leave France because of Hitler. My grandmother's last name was Joussomme. So, my first and middle names are french.


brianna 4 years ago

I want to say I love your wisdom and curiosity I'm 16 and I asked my history teacher if Catholic scholar learn about black history and he had no idea. I go to an all black high-school with about 4% white and they stress it on us but I still don't know why we ate still in some way considered/stereotyped as less of a people if african-americans did a lot to change america. Right now I just thank you for answering my question.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

brianna I also want to thank you. I wish there was some way to spread the word, that this is something that needs to be changed. The best place to change it is school. It needs to start now. I just wish I knew how to help it happen.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

There are many question "why not". I had European school except my specialty training is US (5 years). During my publishing books in Slovak I learn interesting fact. Slovakia where I came from is crib of culture for Europe and subsequently to US. Four universities are asking me to send 2 copies each book I wrote in Slovak. I was told that Slovakia is crib of our culture. Cyrilus and Methodeus were Christian missionaries and settled in Nitra town 2 hrs drive from where I was born. They were invited by Lord Pribina. They established written language, people could read.

Our children now are not teaching academics, but social sensitivity and Marxism. Many do not know how to spell. I do not accept not teaching children right.

I wanted to be missionary to Africa. But many black people here have slavery complex they have to get out of system. Any failure of our president is blamed of racism. I think people need healing from that disease.

My point is go back to academics and then teach about minor information.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Vlad, you a wrong. African Americans have not been slaves for years. It is time to change! We need to stop doing what we are doing NOW. Discrimination is Wrong! African Americans have helped build this country and it is time to stop it. History and the real history needs to be told to all of us. You are wrong about only teaching minor information. No wonder American children are learning less and less each year. Yes, there are other things that should be taken out of the classroom, but history is not one of them. And the true history of America should be taught.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

You are right, but I am not saying I am against black. Of course racism is evil. I do not hate anyone but someone wants to convince me I am, for telling the truth.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

See, Jews are advanced since they love freedom and never dwell on past slavery.

In another hand the Christians still call themselves sinners (2000 years)and they are not, thy are saved. They block their own victory.

I hope you do not call me racist. I love black people.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Vlad I am not calling you a racist. We just disagree. Jews have not been slaves for a very long time. Much longer then African Americans. What am am writing about is a racist country.

I am sure you have suffered racism, but of a different kind. You have been well educated. You are a legal immigrant, in this country. you have not been stopped by the police because of the color of your skin. You know what I mean.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

Prejudice and racism are two different things. As a while male, I have experienced prejudice because of my speech impairment and now because of my age. That prejudice was aimed at me. It could be aimed at a group--a group of women, group of black men, a group of gay people and so on. Racism may still exist to some extent in this country, unfortunately, prejudice will continue for a long time. As a country we have matured and enacted laws and policies to prevent racism. Prejudice is a personal choice. Both can be hard to deal with, except with prejudice, you are often on your own.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

Larry, Mini Me, Short Stuff, Chicken Little, Betty Bop, and are you sure you are not a fifth grader, understand what you are writing about and agree with you. When I was younger, before the epilepsy got bad, I had interviews for nursing jobs and was asked questions like " Are you strong enough to lift people?" Those are just a few. I know it is not as bad, since I am a woman. But, I do understand.


MiamiQ 3 years ago

Michelle, thank you for this Hub. I learned from an Italian History Professor who taught a revolutionary World History course in the mid 1990s, that what we are learning in the schools is NOT history...it is heritage. She informed is of the history of conquerors whose M.O. was to send in the missionaries to a desired territory to soften the inhabitants, then move in acquire control of the resources, then to teach the 'conquered' their own heritage virtually erasing the inhabitants religion and history. This professor was very outspoken and courageous, she lit flames in the classroom beyond, beyond. I will never forget her.

The same philosophy was presented at a leadership seminar I attended in a TV studio hosted by one of the sports commentators. He informed us (also back in the mid 1990s) that media owners will always publish the news which presents their ethnicity in the best light. He also said, our news is whatever they choose to give us. We have no control over nor any way of knowing whether they report the truth. Of course everyone did not have a cell phone back then. Today I write news stories myself.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio Author

MiamiQ your comment is correct. I was taught in college that winners of wars write the history, because those who lost were either slaves or dead.

Your professor was correct and had a lot of courage.

Thank you so much for your comment, I wish I could vote you up!

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