Why Teach Black History?
January 27, 2022

One of the criticisms made about black history is that it is not integrated into the American history books. Sadly, our students, black and white, have little knowledge about the exceptional accomplishments of blacks throughout American history. Yocum African American History Association (YAAHA) is setting the record straight. Our website provides numerous written materials for use in the classroom – our book documents over 400 years of black history. In addition, our PowerPoint presentations begin to fill the void in this history.

Black History Month in February leaves incalculable amounts of history unexplored for our students. Students are often presented with distinguished leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, and Booker T. Washington. But they have never heard of Charlotte Ray (1850-1911), the first woman to argue in front of the U. S. Supreme Court, or Josephine A. Silone Yates (1859-1912); she studied physiology and physics at the age of nine and became one of the first black professors at Lincoln University.

Culturally, the magnificent work of Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951), who was the first black filmmaker, and Jacob Laurence (1912-2000), one of the magnificent artists of the Harlem Renaissance, give our children creative inspiration. Children artistically learn and are inspired by being exposed to this type of greatness in art history.

We must ensure that our children do not miss these invaluable black leaders and their efforts are not lost. Recently, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, remarked about Paul R. Williams’ architectural work being lost. “It is very easy to be written out of history when you are not present…the erasure of our history… creates the sense that for many African Americans that they haven’t done anything, they haven’t accomplished much, they haven’t transformed America.”