Education

Teaching Black History and cultural empowerment during COVID-19 closures

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Courtesy of Pride News Magazine 

Published 03/20/2020 | Reading Time 3 min 59 sec 

By Nehemiah D. Frank, founder, director & editor in chief 

For decades, Black students were educationally disenfranchised—forced to learn history from and about a hegemonic American culture. The damage this caused is unmeasurable, yet widely felt in and throughout America’s Black community; it presents in the form of a broken, collective cultural-consciousness. 

Nevertheless, due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that has forcibly closed school districts across the country, now is a convenient time to teach your children about the Black cultural excellence and brilliance they may have missed in school.

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During the summer break, we teachers are undoubtedly worried about our most vulnerable students not receiving continuous learning and enrichment. These students are likely to regress academically due partially to the lack of educational resources in the home. Nevertheless, during this time, the learning falls on Black parents to teach their children regardless. 

Homeschool doesn’t have to be burdensome; it’s a time that can be a real gift for the Black community, a time that we can use to bond with our Black children and teach them about our incredible history and our resiliency as a people.

If you’re busy working from home or applying for remote jobs to ensure you’re making ends meet for your family while nationwide shutdowns transform our daily lives, your kids can be just as active in literature purchased online, even from Black bookstore owners, that ensure Black dollars are still circulating in our community like they once did during Black Wall Street’s golden era. Your kids can read books written by America’s most prominent and influential Black authors and our accomplices. 

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X” by Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, is an inspiring picture book and biography that celebrates a vision of freedom and justice, and it’s an excellent way to introduce your children to the legendary civil right’s icon. 

Another culturally friendly book is “Life of Lahray,” written by NFL American safety Shamiel Gary. It’s a book about a little Black girl whose girl-dad reminds her that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it because she’s unique.

A great history book I’d recommend for advanced 5th-grade readers and up is “American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt,” written by National Best Selling author Daniel Rasmussen. He is, no doubt, an accomplice. His nonfiction literary work gives the most accurate chronicle of the German Coast Slave Revolt, a historical event unbeknownst to mainstream public education and its students, which occurred in January of 1811 about 45 minutes west of New Orleans, Louisiana.

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There are numerous great books related to the Black experience and Black History to keep your child academically engaged during these trying times. The corona slide doesn’t have to be the summer-slide for Black children or any child of any racial ethnicity. 

So, remain motivated. Check online with your local library and see if they offer an e-reader format. Check Amazon for book deals. Many books are priced affordably, and some are even free.


Nehemiah FrankNehemiah D. Frank is the founder, executive editor, and director of The Black Wall Street Times, digital news media company that believes access is the new civil right. He’s also a freelance writer, appearing in TIME Magazine, Tulsa People, and Tulsa World. Frank graduated with a general studies degree from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and a political science degree from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and was a member and chapter president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. Today, he is a blogger for Education Post, based in Chicago, IL, and a board member for the Tulsa World, Tulsa Press Club, and Tulsa’s Table. He is also a public school educator at a local community-led charter school and is a member of Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s Education Task Force for Equity and Inclusion. In 2017, Frank became a Terence Crutcher Foundation honoree, a recipient of the 2017 METCares Foundation Community Impact Award, a 2018 Black Educators Fellow and gave a TED Talk at the University of Tulsa.

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