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The American education system has failed our children yet again.
By neglecting the history of slavery, schools and other institutions are misleading our students. Slavery is an intricate matter that is distorted in classrooms. As a result, students are not adequately educated and professors are not qualified to teach it.
Instead, it affiliates with the impaired narrative that invalidates the enormities of slavery while justifying the enslavement of Black people. They provide students with general knowledge, such as the Underground Railroad and the Emancipation Proclamation, but fail to emphasize horrific and gruesome events, like 1619 and the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Nikole-Hannah Jones is a pulitzer prize-winning reporter covering racial justice for the New York Times magazine and is the creator of the 1619 Project, fights for racial equality and justice. Growing up, Hannah-Jones was unaware of the importance of 1619; the date in which the first enslaved people arrived on American soil. Students only know about 1776, but not about the more than 2.5 million enslaved Black people in 1865.
Bringing the truth to Tulsa
At a speaking event marking the 101st anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on Tuesday, May 31 at Booker T. Washington High School, Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, executive director of the Terence Crutcher Foundation and Onikah Asamoa-Caesar, founder and director of Fulton Street Books & Coffee, led a discussion with Hannah-Jones to set the record straight on telling the truth about our nation’s history. Organized by partners that include Pen America, Magic City Books, Fulton Street Books and The Black Wall Street Times, Hannah-Jones unapologetically highlighted the facts about the nation’s racial caste system in the heart of Trump Country.
Lacking profound knowledge of a prominent part of history, Hannah-Jones felt inclined to write about 1619.
“The history that has been manipulated, that has been banished by people of power to justify their power so they erase all the things about our history that call into question the legitimacy of that power,” she said on Tuesday.
By writing about 1619, Hannah-Jones enlightens other people about the narrative while also emphasizing the truth about slavery, instead of sugarcoating it like many institutions.
Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones sets the record straight in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Hannah-Jones said to the audience, “slavery was not a racism system, it was an economic system. You don’t transport 13 million human beings across the Atlantic just because you don’t like them. You do that because you want to economically exploit these human beings for profit and you justify that exploitation by creating racism.” Through the 1619 Project, Nikole shifted the connection between slavery and America.
The main focus of the 1619 project is to revise the historical perspective of the United States, placing slavery at the center of the U.S. historical narrative. In addition, she reframed the teaching of slavery in the United States. Because of Hannah-Jones, students can now receive a proper education and become enlightened on essential matters. Along with the 1619 Project, students are enlightened on the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the most extreme instances of racial terrorism in the United States. Although slavery was abolished nearly 157 years ago, White individuals and systems continued to view Black prosperity as a threat to their power.
1619 project doesn’t sugarcoat history
The most brutal act of violence was in response to Black success, such as the Tulsa Race Massacre. The Historic Greenwood District, which Booker T. Washington named “Black Wall Street,” served as home for Black leaders, family, and local businesses.
Given the success of Black Americans, White people perceived that as a political and economic threat. On May 31,1921, Tulsa was never the same, as a city-sanctioned White mob burned, bombed, looted, shot and killed the residents of Greenwood, a thriving Black community.
The men carried torches, setting fires to local businesses and homes. White power was on full display, as 300 innocent lives were taken and over 800 individuals were injured. The Tulsa Race Massacre is considered the most horrific act of racial violence since slavery. This topic was disregarded in American schooling, attempting to diminish Black history and cover up America’s original sins. However, the Tulsa Race Massacre remains a vital part of history that must be taught in schools, as the disgrace of the massacre and systemic racism continues to shape the United States.