Where did you Learn your Black History?


Arnecia Paul

Collaborative Mural created by Mrs. Bolen’s art classes

Arnecia Paul, Staff Writer

Black History Month is finally here! It’s the time where people celebrate and honor the achievements of African Americans and recognize the central role of black people in US history. There’s so much to learn during Black History Month, but does Lake Shore’s curriculum properly educate students on their history?

There are 1,238 students that currently attend Lake Shore High School. Out of those 1,238 students only 16% makes up African American students and 4.4% makes up Biracial students, many of which are mixed with black.

A lot of students at Lake Shore High School claim that they know a lot about black history. Seniors, Kayla Jackson, Alexis Gibson, and Paigien Kirksey, all said that they know a lot about black history. Which is great because everyone should know a lot about black history.

Also a lot of students at Lake Shore don’t know a lot about black history. Senior, Laura Itoney, on her knowledge on black history is “Not a lot.” Which is upsetting because students should know a decent amount of black history, in fact all history!

Students that say they know a lot about black history say that they didn’t learn about it here at school, but from outside sources like through their family. Gibson says, “I started to learn about my heritage through my family because I’m black. Knowing black people they usually teach you about your heritage and who your great grandparents are and the history behind the history that you know.” 

Senior, Paigien Kirksey said, I learned it from my grandparents and great grandparents. The school doesn’t really celebrate Black History Month here and it doesn’t really help us here.” This is a common way for a lot of people to learn about their family heritage and history behind their ethinc because the school now and days barely teach students about it!

Another factor in how much black history or any other history that you may know is the environment that you are around. Senior, Taylor Pettway, explained, “I know a decent amount that I learned throughout the years of being born in a predominantly black family and being raised by a single black female. I learned just a little bit from what I’ve been taught through elementary school, because I didn’t learn much about it through middle school and high school.”

Pettway also said, Honestly, I feel like they put it down as a not important subject to teach. In elementary school, most of my teachers were predominantly black or mixed, and that’s when they taught it more. I’ve been going to a predominantly white school since then, so I feel like they don’t teach it as much.” This is a huge deal because it shouldn’t matter what school you go to and what race/ethnicity there is predominantly in the school. All students should be learning a lot about black history, because there is so much information to know that is important for all scholars.

Students are actually upset about the lack of black history taught here, and it definitely needs to improve. Itoney proclaimed, “It’s important for people to understand and know significant things about it, and why it’s a big thing and important thing.” 

Different events have happened throughout black history that have definitely shaped our nation to where it is today and students should know about these things. Senior, Kayla McCuen, said, “I definitely think that there should be more. It’s a big deal. I think that of course people need to learn what happened here and how everything came to be where it is now.”

Pettway emphasized,“I feel like it’s really ignorant to some degree, because why do you think other things are more important than teaching people about what has happened throughout history.” 

Honestly, with how gruesome and in depth black history can be teachers are often afraid to teach the subject, let alone speak on the topic. Gibson proclaimed, “I think that it definitely needs to improve, but some people and teachers are scared to teach it because they don’t want to offend anybody. They don’t know how to teach it without having kids go home to their parents and then parents getting mad with the teachers because they don’t have their history down pat.” This is one of many reasons why black history isn’t taught in schools, but this is a part of history so it should be taught more often.

Here at Lake Shore, that’s not the case. History Department Head, Dan Mumbrue, says that time is the issue. Mumbrue stated, “The trimester system leaves us only with two trimesters for history, so US history has a huge amount of material not pretty much time overall like we don’t cover much on black history month, we don’t cover much on black history and we should cover more. We don’t get much through the Cold War and we basically get nothing in modern or recent history, so mostly I think a lot of it is just time unfortunately.”

Even though time is the issue, Mumbrue would definitely like to see a change in the curriculum so topics like black history can be covered more. Mumbrue said the thing he would change is, “The time issue and since we’re going back to semesters hopefully that should open the door for more time for black,women and more recent history. So hopefully going into semesters should open up the opportunity to do more of those things.” Switching to semesters will definitely bring on these changes so black history is more sufficiently covered.

It would be a great change to see Lake Shore not only show love and celebrate Black History Month but to further educate their students on this topic even more. There is more to Black History than slavery and civil rights. There’s so much more!