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UB helps educators to incorporate more Black history curricula in classrooms

UB's Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education will host its 5th annual Teaching Black History Conference. It starts Friday and ends Sunday.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — National calls for more inclusive and effective education in schools, as it pertains to American History and Black and Brown people, are intensifying.

School districts and academic institutions alike are being challenged to redesign curricula to better reflect what some are calling a "full" portrayal of American history.

Dr. Fatima Morrell is the associate superintendent of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Initiatives for Buffalo Public Schools. Dr. Morrell said as it relates to Black history education in schools today, it's historically nonexistent.  

"Public schools predominantly are learning everything they know about math, science, history, social studies and music from a Eurocentric lens, or platform of education. And not to say that it's wrong, it's just not right for every single child every single day for their entire K-12 education," Dr. Morrell said.

Furthermore, as a veteran educator, Dr. Morrell says it's concerning that different states are teaching American history differently and oftentimes only including small parts of the historical African American experience. 

"Let's diversify our curricula. Let's diversify our classroom practices. And let's be more inclusive and welcoming of all people. Then the fear should subside," Dr. Morrell said. "History, the same stories are being taught differently in Texas and in New York, state to state, and none of it seems to really tell a true, unvarnished truth."

That is something the University at Buffalo's new Center for K-12 Black History an d Racial Literacy Education is hoping to change under the direction of Dr. LaGarette King.

"When I talk to teachers across the nation, one of the biggest questions and concerns they have is a lack of knowledge, a lack of pedagogical content, and they're scared of talking about tough issues in the classroom. So, the center seemed like a really good start to try to help teachers," Dr. King said.

On Friday, the Center kicks off its fifth annual Teaching Black History Conference at City Honors School. The two-day program brings hundreds of educators together to learn the best practices and approaches to teaching Black history.

Dr. King told 2 On Your Side's Liz Lewin, "The problem with a lot of Black history education is that there's there's a lot of people doing wonderful things around the country, around the nation, around the world. The problem is we just don't know each other."

That is one reason why bringing everyone together is such a powerful opportunity.

"This weekend, you'll have 50-plus educators that are going to really blow your mind with their knowledge and their approaches to Black history, particularly Africa," Dr. King said.

"What we're going to try to do is we're going to present another Africa. We hope that the conference can serve as a networking place for people to meet, share ideas and resources, so we can better improve education."

Organizers say this weekend's conference is open to parents, educational leaders, students, and community members who are also curious about Black history, be sure to register here


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