The 21st Show

Schools To Teach Pre-Enslavement Black History

 
Sankore Mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage site, built in the 14th century in the African country of Mali.

Sankore Mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage site, built in the 14th century in the African country of Mali. AP Photo

Illinois has new legislation that aims to dismantle systemic racism in the state's public schools. The Black Caucus in Illinois’ General Assembly championed the bill, which was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month. The bill calls on every elementary and high school to develop a curriculum that includes one unit of studying pre-enslavement Black history. That unit will cover the period from 3,000 BCE to 1619, when the first enslaved Africans were brought to America. This change is celebrated by Black teachers and parents, but some are concerned about how it will play out in practice. 

To hear more about the plan, The 21st spoke to an education reporter for Illinois Public Media, a state representative and a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago’s West Side and western suburbs.

Guests:

Lee V. Gaines, Education Reporter, Illinois Public Media and Illinois Newsroom 

State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, Democrat who represents portions of Chicago’s West Side and western suburbs

Prof. LaGarrett King, Professor of learning, teacher and curriculum, and director of the Carter Center for K-12 Black History Education at the University of Missouri (Columbia)

 

Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

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