The more you know!
There has been a lot of division in America’s education system lately about the importance of teaching accurate history in relation to African Americans in this country. From banned books to new guidelines framing slavery as a benefit to enslaved Africans, the revisionist history being spewed is at a nauseating level, and a regular topic for politicians doing whatever they can to combat its harmful impact. In the true spirit of our mission, we want to keep the positivity in our culture going so instead of screaming in the dark, we decided to light a match. To support the efforts of organizers nationwide attempting to right these egregious wrongs, here are 8 resources to help educate anyone about the true history of slavery in America.
The 1619 Project
In 2019, The New York Times published The 1619 Project, an expansive project that centers American slavery and the history of African Americans in our nation’s narrative. Spearheaded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the project offered a unique look into the contributions of African Americans to the country, beginning when the first enslaved people arrived on America’s shores. Today, the project has expanded into a podcast, television series via Hulu, and offers lesson plans for teachers in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture that allows students to learn through primary sources.
National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)
The Smithsonian’s NMAAHC features several floors dedicated to exploring the history of slavery, beginning in 15th century Africa and Europe, extending through the founding of the United States, and ending with the Civil War and Reconstruction era. There are artifacts, scholarly research, first person narratives, and interactive elements.
The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has a comprehensive guide filled with a wide array of materials entitled Slavery in America: A Resource Guide. It features tens of thousands of documents featuring digital collections, online resources, print resources and external websites that include photographs, manuscripts, recorded oral history and books. Many of these are primary resources that have been digitized with thousands of first-person narratives about the experience of slavery. The guide allows all readers, young and old, to explore the real history of slavery in America and how it continues to impact the nation today.
PBS Learning Media
PBS has nearly 700 online resources catering to school aged children so they can learn the true history of slavery. There are lesson plans, documentary clips, media and interactive elements that are organized by topic, and able to be filtered by grade level, subject, resource type, length of video/audio, and language. Resources are catered to students in Pre-K through 12th grade and there are support materials available for download for educators.
The Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center also has released a comprehensive guide entitled Teaching Hard History: American Slavery. The framework includes extensive resources and guides for educators with a list of key concepts and hundreds of primary source texts. There is also a podcast for teachers available to help as well. Added to the framework is critical data supporting exactly why this guide is needed, particularly for students learning a foundational understanding of American history.
BlackAmericanHistory.org has a timeline that chronicles key moments in the timeline that is American slavery. From the transportation of the first enslaved Africans to Portugal to the ongoing present-day fight for reparations in America. If you need a truncated summary regarding slavery, this is a good start.
National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center has more than 300 resources including Supreme Court case documents, historical documents, a media library and documents from the United States Constitution educating readers on the history of slavery. From the founding documents of America to the abolition of slavery, everything you need to know about slavery in America through the lens of the government is cataloged here.
History.com has a pretty extensive catalog entitled Slavery in America. From the earliest days of American slavery to the advent of the cotton gin, rebellions, abolitionist movement, key legislation, the Civil War, and the legacy of slavery, there are hours and hours of media dedicated to shining a light on this very sordid part of American history. According to the site, some 6 to 7 million enslaved Africans were transported to America during the 18th century alone.
Happy educating folks! May the stories of our ancestors be preserved with integrity FOREVER!
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