Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Teaching Hard History: American Slavery
Contributors: Shuster, Kate
Jeffries, Hasan Kwame
Blight, David W.
Keywords: Slavery--United States--History--Study and teaching
Issue Date: 31-Jan-2018
Publisher: Southern Poverty Law Center
Place of Publication: Montgomery, Alabama
Description: Research conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017 shows that our schools are failing to teach the hard history of African enslavement. We surveyed U.S. high school seniors and social studies teachers, analyzed a selection of state content standards, and reviewed 10 popular U.S. history textbooks. The research indicates that: High school seniors struggle on even the most basic questions about American enslavement of Africans; Teachers are serious about teaching slavery, but there’s a lack of deep coverage of the subject in the classroom; Popular textbooks fail to provide comprehensive coverage of slavery and enslaved peoples; States fail to set appropriately high expectations with their content standards. We see seven key problems with current practices: 1. We teach about slavery without context, preferring to present the good news before the bad; 2. We tend to subscribe to a progressive view of American history that can acknowledge flaws only to the extent that they have been addressed and solved; 3. We teach about the American enslavement of Africans as an exclusively southern institution; 4. We rarely connect slavery to the ideology that grew up to sustain and protect it: white supremacy; 5. We often rely on pedagogy poorly suited to the topic; 6. We rarely make connections to the present; 7. We tend to center on the white experience when we teach about slavery. To chart a path forward and develop a set of best practices, we assembled a distinguished advisory board of scholars and partnered with institutions and teachers. That collaboration resulted in AFramework for Teaching American Slavery, a comprehensive outline containing concepts that every graduating high school senior should know about the topic, and these four recommendations: 1. Improve Instruction About American Slavery and Fully Integrate It Into U.S. History; 2. Use Original Historical Documents; 3. Make Textbooks Better; 4. Strengthen Curriculum.
Related resource:
Appears in Collections:Monographic reports and papers (Publicly Accessible)

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
tt_hard_history_american_slavery.pdf2.73 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.