“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey
If I told you that black people created many resources like the clock, the stoplight and were the first to perform special surgeries, would you believe me? It’s okay if not, but out of all of the different types of history, black history is the least talked about.
It’s very important that we discuss black history, because a lot of the black historical figures are the reason why we have important resources that we use in our everyday lives. Black historical figures like Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Stokely Carmichael, George Washington Carver and many more have helped to shape our future.
At a liberal arts school, it is said that we are supposed to have a very diverse education that helps to make us well-rounded individuals. We are supposed to be able to discuss critical issues that we are able to learn from and apply our own interpretation to.
When I reflect on my career at Wittenberg, I think the diversity part has been lost. I learn more about European history than I do black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. I personally think that’s a problem if we want to make our students “well rounded individuals.” Learning about black history will help Wittenberg students be one step to being well-rounded individuals in society and the work place.
I have friends who didn’t know black people were an important part of history. I think it’s already sad that we learn very little of black history in grade school. If it’s not about Martin Luther King or Malcom X, then we didn’t have the opportunity to learn about other historical figures. This has to change, so why not start in college?
How can we fix this problem? I think the first step is showing professors that learning about black history in the classroom is beneficial in our education. I think all professors should dedicate about 30 minutes of their class time discussing black historical figures related to their field, during the month of February. If all professors listened to this request, think about how engaging the discussions could be. Students could learn about prominent figures that have made an impact on their everyday lives. Students would also be more willing to do the research on their own and learn more about the contributions black people made. This would also spark new ideas and conversations within friend groups. I hope professors see that this is a need and more students to be enlightened to new ideas. As a community, it’s important for us to stay woke.