Black history is history, always has been.


Tiffani Adams, Volunteer Writer

Sure, we have all been debriefed in our early school years on slavery. We’ve honored Harriet Tubman for her bravery and heroic act of aiding other slaves to freedom. We have learned about the horrors of the Jim Crow Era. The outdated textbooks that lie in so many schools have mentioned Martin Luther King and his many great demonstrations of protest against racial inequality and segregation. Maybe if you grew up in the South it was required to attend the same Civil Rights Museums every year for a special Black History field trip. But these lessons that are intertwined with America’s school curriculum all have one thing in common- they are brief and glossed over. When observing the social climate today, many do not know why racial protest, wage gap discussions, and gender quality are still topics to be concerned about. These issues, however, can be traced back to the founding of America- slavery.

There are many untold, true horrors of slavery; from cannibalism and severe sexual exploitation, to torture practices that are deeply disturbing and go beyond whipping. In textbooks, we are told that slavery ended with the Civil War. Slavery was more than just a horrible mistake in the past- it shaped the core of America as we know it today. Slavery and racism are ingrained in every part of society, not just a trait a few people may have.

Several U.S Presidents that have owned slaves are printed on our money. Our very first President, George Washington, used enslaved African Americans’ teeth as his own. One of our most prestigious universities, Yale, is named after the slave trader, Elihu Yale. Wall Street, the world’s largest stock exchange, was once a government-approved, thriving slave market. Slavery has even shaped our modern national and international economic systems. Inventions such as the lightbulb and Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey were created from the minds of African Americans. Yes, all of the objects and traditions America puts on a pedestal (money, political figures, and a shining education system) can be traced back to Slavery- so it is no hyperbole to say African Americans built America.

Several States such as Texas, Louisiana, and New Hampshire want to ban teaching the complex era of slavery and how it structures current society. Rhode Island legislatures are currently trying to ban the teachings of America as being inherently racist and sexist. Denying America’s dark past, however, will not change it. Our social climate is tied to the beginning of the slave trade, and issues beyond racial injustice such as wage gaps, the climate crisis, and women’s rights are controversies that can finally be answered for with the teachings of accurate colonialism. Concealing significant parts of history will only hurt people- especially Black people. This core piece to our society is why it should not be banned to teach in schools. Germany does not ban the teachings of the Holocaust- they fully admit to their role and actually learn from their past mistakes. In turn, the country’s residents are more knowledgeable and less likely to repeat the mistakes of fascism and racism.

Banning the teaching of slavery will not change the past. It will only keep U.S residents further ignorant and bound to repeat the same mistakes of our founding fathers. If we truly understand America’s past, we can end the majority of societal issues we face today. We can honor minority groups and in turn, honor a better America.