Fired For Teaching Black History?!

Is teaching beyond the curriculum an excuse for termination?

Commentary by Dejour Sellers. Photo by 

February 19, 2015: On January 30, 2015 the principal of Howard University Middle School, Angelique Blackmon, fired three teachers in front of their students for going “overboard” with teaching black history. The teachers were reportedly escorted off of campus by the police in a very unprofessional and upsetting way for the students. President of the Parents In Action group at the middle school, Adilah Bilal, says that the teachers were already planning to step down from their position a week later. Chapter head of NAACP, Akosua Al, told the Washington Post that the teaching of black history may not be the reason of the teacher’s termination, but did not submit and any other ideas of why it happened. Parents say that these actions are unacceptable for a school that is built on the campus of a historically Black college. Further investigation is still in progress.

When I first heard about this story I was shocked and outraged.Why should there be a certain curriculum or a limit to the amount of our history to be taught. Hearing that teachers were fired because they went beyond the curriculum to teach young black children their history while teachers barely acknowledge black history at my school, which have a majority of African American students, makes me wonder if people like Howard's middle school principal want our history to be hidden. It’s important to learn black history. America was built solely on the bones of African Americans. Though we are taught the basics, there’s so much more to learn about. As young black children, we don’t get the chance to learn much about our history unless we take it as an elective or if we learn at home which is rare because our parents were barely taught about our history too. Even before our ancestors were captured and forced into slavery, our people did so much and were very advanced over in Africa. The Howard Middle School story makes me feel less of a person, as if I’m not allowed to learn about my history unless I search for it myself.

Dejour Sellers is a 12th grade student at Friendship Collegiate Academy.