Since Charlottesville, we’ve heard more discourse around race, diversity and historical symbols, much of it focused on how to realize justice and equality for all Americans. We’ve arrived at an inflection point about the ways our collective past is reflected in our culture and in our public and educational spaces.
Amid the events Charlottesville spawned and the ensuing rhetoric about Confederate statues and what they represent, I have reflected on a different seminal moment: my time at Coolidge High School in Northwest Washington in the late 1960s. Well before “stay woke” became a mantra, students across this country were awakened to the need to include African and African American history and cultures in the curriculum. We were successful at Coolidge.
However, when I returned to Coolidge a decade ago and asked students about the hard-fought changes we achieved, I was told that they had been removed. Sadly, throughout this nation, the history curriculum remains an explicit promulgation of white privilege, exclusion and hoarding. Where is the equality in that?