By Courtney Jackson
Black history is American history. It is important to start there as there is a tide in this countrythat is approaching with the recklessness of a tsunami. Since the 1960s, black people havebeen feverishly trying to hold onto our history by making sure it gets documented as it reallyhappened. This effort has been thwarted since the days of the aging confederate soldiers,whose daughters (United Daughters of the Confederacy) some 30 years after the civil war,saw to it to make sure the lie they claimed they fought for (states’ rights and not slavery) wasforever documented as a noble cause.
They accomplished this feat by attacking the school textbooks with planted lies that all buteliminated slavery as the cause of the war. This lie was retold as truth for decades to come,poisoning the minds of American children for generations. Hence, many are confused todayover black people’s objection to confederate statutes.
This point is important as a renewed battle has ensued over the truth about this country’spast actions. Schools are being bombarded by angry parents demanding the truth besuppressed. They claim it’s “too harmful” to their children’s psyches to have to acknowledgethat they live in a country where a group of people oppressed another group of people toadvantage themselves. Instead, they want that reality wiped from the halls of academia whileembracing Dr. Seuss.
Listen, I get it. The thought of little white children sitting in class learning that the wealth theirfamily has amassed, maybe contributed to the fact that their ancestors were allowed topurchase land/homes that led to inheritance, which led to funding for business ventures,which can be connected to the kids we speak of. This fact disrupts the “hard-working”individual who became a self-made success narrative.
Moreover, learning that for hundreds of years, blacks were intentionally denied those sameprivileges, which led to us being forced to live in impoverished communities and, moredamning, left us lacking economic opportunities to thrive, ultimately leading to some of theproblems we face today. Kids would learn that it is not just poor decision-making that ledblacks to have the worst schools, low test scores, and high incarceration rates. They wouldlearn that government-backed policies led to most of that.
Let us not allow these misguided individuals to continue to lionize Dr. King as a man with adream. We should know he was a hated activist who sought justice from a system thatqualified him as “public enemy number one.” Let us not allow Frederick Douglas to bereduced to a man who, as former president Trump once said, “is doing an amazing job,” butremember him for reminding white America to ask itself, “what is the 4th of July to a slave?”Rosa Parks was neither old nor tired when she took her stance against American injustice.
The truth must be told, as it possesses healing powers. Revisionist history or flat-out lyingabout the wrongs committed upon black people in this country contributes greatly towardsthe divide fracturing this nation’s civility. Wherever you are, however, you can, pleasecontinue to fight for truth in our education system. Black History Month asks you to learn,retain, and recall the truth about the plight of African Americans.
Courtney Jackson is the Hanna Center High School Principal.