Many American’s missed ever hearing about famous African Americans in history while growing up in my generation. It was a topic introduced into many of America’s public school curriculums only about fifteen to twenty years ago. We never knew much about Martin Luther King, Jr. just that he was assassinated before we were born or before we knew about life. We didn’t know that a staple in the American diet, the peanut, that is used in literally hundreds of different and products was really unknown to the United States consumer, until a young boy, born a slave, George Washington Carver became a scientist and agriculturalist and unlocked the peanut’s secrets. These weren’t people who we were introduced to us as making a huge difference to the nation or our world, but they really did.
Schools aren’t perfect at educating their students about the contributions made to our nation by African Americans but they are trying. In fact, many schools do a great job at using the month of February, Black History Month as a way to teach some important themes to students. Teachers are actually trying to teach students about some of the famous African Americans that have done so much for our nation. I’ve been impressed by teachers who build their entire curriculum around famous African Americans during the month of February. Now, when you walk down a school’s halls there are art projects and poems dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. There are books about African American history and culture.
We are doing a better job at educating our children about the history of African Americans in our nation. But we still have a long way to go before we’re in the right place. We shouldn’t just be focusing on this topic during Black History Month. It needs to be something that we teach all year long and not just at school.