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Un-Censored Black History
When Students Educate Adults
Students at Chaska High were shocked and dismayed when they were told by their school that they couldn't display their Black History posters. But, they shored on. They found a local community center where their eight 2' x 4' posters of important Black Historical figures and groups from years past like Sojourner Truth, The Tuskagee Airmen, Aretha Franklin, the Black Panthers; and others more recent like Michelle Obama, Tamir Rice and Black Lives Matters were welcome.
To draw other students' attention to the exhibit, during free time between classes, the poster-makers raised awareness by chanting “Black History Uncensored," through the halls of their suburban school. It's in the Eastern Carver County School District, Southwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Things got tense when White fellow students confronted them with signs reading: “White Lives Matter." Thanks to cool heads, what transpired ended up being constructive: with Black students educating their peers on their clear and very immediate contrasting realities, realities of Black Lives that echo those of the famous people featured on the posters they'd originally hoped would drive home the point about the dogged persistence and hard fought evolutions of centuries of fighting racial repression and discrimination.
"This is my right. You have the same right," shouted a White boy who was wearing his baseball cap backwards to a Black girl. "I don't have a right to," responded his backpack-wearing counterpart. "None of us have a right to!" She was referring to she and her fellow demonstrators. Unlike the White boy and his fellow counter-protestors, none of them carried posters. While the White boy, his poster now rolled up in his hands, and his fellow counter-protestors were allowed to create and display their posters at the school, the Black student's were not given the same privilege.
The reasons behind the District's head-scratching decision? Unclear. But there are hints. They don't celebrate Martin Luther King Day or Black History Month. Which suggests, despite Principal xxx xxx's anemic denials, that the District leadership itself might need a good deal more education to understand the issues and their importance to all students.
Me to We had questions of our own:
What is District policy regarding national cultural celebrations like this one?
Who, by position or role, are the people responsible for making this decision?
Is there any prohibition against recognizing Black History Month? If so, what is it and why?
What, specifically, is done to educate all students -- including White students -- about Black History and racial repression?
Where, when and what, by grade and demographic, do students learn on Black history?