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Research

African American History

The Importance

Engages an interest of learning for the African American students by developing self-esteem and identity which improves their academic outcomes.

  • As our youth struggle for identity during their adolescent years, African Americans are faced with added social character degrading challenges such as having to deal with the notion that society doesn’t think they can achieve, along with the inequalities of being black. This creates an underdog phenomenon and seriously affects the adolescent’s development of a healthy self-esteem. Many adolescents and young adults are having to deal with a sense of hopelessness and failure before they even begin to explore the world and what it has to offer.

  • According to Stefan, 2007, it’s important that African American students disregard this idea of cynicism and find self-empowerment. Knowledge of their history, which was taken from them during slavery, must be made available, as this knowledge sets the framework for a positive self-image and identity, and teaches them they can achieve and overcome adversity as their ancestors before them.

  • Harper, 1977 points to evidence-based research that African American children who understand their history, are more engaged in the educational process, contribute more, on average have greater school moral and perform better academically. Given this research and the obvious problems we are currently experiencing with the high drop-out rates of African American males, especially, this should be an incentive for every educator to embrace the opportunity to educate themselves on African American history so they are prepared and equipped with the true, full and accurate stories of African American’s and their contributions throughout history

  • Based on a nationwide study of teachers by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), who implemented an African American curriculum, teachers are interested and find it helpful teaching the complexities of African American history and even going beyond simply a social studies curriculum

The deliberate disenfranchisement of African American stories and contributions in the building of American continues to spread white supremacy, which promotes racism, stereotyping, prejudice and intolerance.

  • Recent data gathered by the University of San Bernardino’s, Center for The Study of Hate and Extremism (CSHE), report Hate Crimes Rise 9% in 2018 to Decade High of 2,009 in 30 U.S. Cities, 2019 Also Up, hate crimes in thirty of America’s largest cities rose nine percent in 2018 to a decade high of 2,009. Last year marked the exorbitant rise since 2015 and 5th successive increase in hate crimes. 70%, or 21 police departments, reported increases, with just under half (47%), or 14 agencies, hitting or tying decade highs. 2018 was the only year this decade the cities exceeded 2,000. 18 cities data from partial year 2019 also shows an overall increase. If the forthcoming FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) 2018 hate crime totals replicate this 9% rise, it will be the fourth consecutive increase and the highest total since the FBI’s 2001 record. While CSHE abstains from making such a specific forecast, 2018 will likely show another national increase. CSHE’s last multi-city study deviated about one percent from subsequent FBI findings and matched overall FBI national trends for four of the last five years, 2013 to 2017.

  • The threat from right-wing terrorists in the United States of America of particular concern are government extremists who are anti-government and white supremacists, such as militia groups and the sovereign citizens who show interest in conspiring and planning attacks against government, religious, racial, and political targets in the U.S

  • Hate crimes have increased nationally in the recent years after bottoming in 2014, with CSHE/WVU analysis of police database and Federal Bureau of Investigation representing the biggest projection in politically conflictual time durations in October 2008, November 2016, August 2017, and fall 2018. African Americans have consistently been the top target 4 for hate crime, but in shrinking proportions. Recent social surveys mirror these findings, showing an increase in social distancing and fear, as well as less tolerance for certain other outgroups.

  • Even as big commercial manifestos struggle with prejudiced content, hatemongers have increasingly switched to crumbled free speech, code converted and inclination-based platforms, and messaging services, where animosity speech is more abundant. Like hate crimes, activity on those platforms’ spikes around catalytic events. Anti-Semitic and anti-Black virtual hate speech had the most sustained digital increase, even as white supremacist and neo-Nazi presence at large rallies plummeted, amidst a post Charlottesville breakdown of more organized extremist groups and their leaders, and the closing of an election cycle. The Internet has helped in enabling not only newly shambled extremists in maintaining a public presence, it also offers organizationally not officially attached loners and extremists with a tool to assemble, radicalize, and broadcast not only fanaticism, but disturbingly, lone actions of mass violence that reference prior attacks. Social media has also been adapted for use as a weapon., not only by domestic and foreign extremists, but also by state actors like Russia seeking to “sow discord” and launch conspiracy theories amongst the electorate to advance prejudice and political division

History helps to teach patriotism and allows for the opportunity to feel pride in ones heritage and culture, which creates a connection to an individual’s true roots as an American. Focusing on the commonalities that bind us rather than the differences that separate us. This is a form of healing and a method of uniting our nation. Blacks and whites both made enormous sacrifices and contributions to help build this nation

  • Bryce-LaPorte further supports Black Studies on the basis that mutual respect for Afro-Americans must come through increased knowledge of their contribution to American culture. However, Devlin (1970) re¬marks that the rewriting of American history to give the Negro his rightful place is overdue.

  • Since the fifteenth century, ethnocentrism (belief in the superiority of your own ethnic group), and xeno¬phobia (extreme dislike or fear of foreigners) have characterized, constructed, and conditioned the European attitude towards African communities. As such, in the spirit of Eurocentrism, the African community could not and cannot be inte¬grated as a social equal. Eurocentric exclusiveness and its striving for global dominance left no place for the African except bondage, slavery and second-class citizenship. Eurocentric doctrine does not accept Africans based on their humanitarian virtues because of their skin colour.

  • Linus A. Hoskins, 1992 The delightful history and forward-looking advancement/ contribution of African community to humanitarian traits have already been well documented to drive off the Eurocentric fable that the African continent was dark and its people backward, inferior and uncivilized.

  • The point of focus here is that mere survival forced Europeans to adopt this offensive geopolitical strategy; in other words, Europe had to formulate a reverse intellectual conflict plan to show that certainly they were exceptional and better than the Africans who were inferior. It is also important to understand that a predominant mode of operation of imperialism (colonialism) was to associate Eurocentrism (Western-centrism) "with ingrained qualities of excellence in intelligence, beauty and the right to rule other races. Its reverse impact on the African continent was to demean his physical subordination and color that had been thrusted by force came to be associated with the (African's) inherited qualities" (Magubane, 1989, p. 33). This mission was accomplished through poor education or wrong education of the African community and the fabrication or distortion of his history. As Kwame Ture (1975) once warned: "If you don't know who you are, you would not know what your interests are." A people without a sense of history are not well equipped to visualize and plan a future because of an unclear and forged/falsified picture of their past. A people without the knowledge of "having done" will have too much difficulty acknowledging the motivation of "can do. “Or as the slain Pan-African nationalist Malcolm X (1963) put it in a speech delivered November 10, 1963, in Detroit,

    A full and accurate account of American history will help to show the contributions that Africans did to help build the nation and will also show the cruel behavior that was conducted for greed. History can also teach African American students that the majority of whites were not in support of America’s shackle slavery legacy

  • When we look into African American history, we see that African Americans helped to build and improve our nation and influenced society as a whole. All people look for ways to improve their self and increase their voice and by learning history, African American students can do just that.

  • According to Mamer, the history of African Americans dealt with the fact that people felt that Africans should be quiet and educate themselves, leaving the civic rights and other political goals for the whites (Mamer, 2013). This of course, was where African Americans made some of their biggest contributions, by fighting both racially and politically, allowing Africans to share their voice and to not remain quiet. Throughout this fight, they were able to find their identity and work through conflicting social situations that caused there to have an identity struggle.

  • Another important part of African American history is the fact that much of the behavior was based on greed and that many, if not a majority of whites, were against the shackle slavery legacy. The slave trade gave people political power and wealth, yet and many other parts of history remain unknown such as the fact that many of the colleges and universities throughout the United States were build by slaves, including some of our most pretigous schools, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and University of Virgina. They had had hoped that because of their hard work the schools could be a place where they could be educated, a place to learn, even if under bondage (Smith and Ellis, 2017).

  • The African American experience might well be appreciated for what it has always been, a commentary on the American experience, making it more difficult to ignore the national contradictions in favor of oversimplified slogans that sometimes pass for national history. This will surely be a more troubling history for most Americans, but it will ultimately be more useful, providing the historical context for contemporary conversations on the nation's most difficult and pressing problems.

    An honest and true history helps to develop self-esteem and identity for children during the developmental years and for individuals as a whole.

  • Racial identity can affect the self-esteem of a child while they are developing and as a whole. Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer discussed the fact that children that were taught at a young age about their racial identity were less likely to feel a difference between their personal and group identity and that they were more able to identify people with positive attributes, no matter what race they were identifying (Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer, 2009).

  • In the study, Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer asked two questions: how are racial attitudes shaped and what mechanisms and factors contribute to these processes? They found that by teaching young children about their race, they can grow up to understand and accept themselves and the other races around them in an equal fashion, without prejudice. And they also found that by teaching history and self-appraisal in school at a young age can help them to understand and balance social assumptions with biases to understand the concept of self (Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer, 2009).

  • Adolescence is a difficult time for all children, as most struggle with identity, and it’s particularly difficult for African American students who are having to deal with the notion that society thinks they are lazy, not very smart or capable, and are dangerous. This feeling of inequality creates an environment of defeatism which seriously diminishes self-esteem and self-worth.

  • According to Stefan McDonald, 2007, according to Stefan, 2007, it important that African American students defy this idea of defeatism and find self-empowerment. Knowledge of their history, which was taken from them during salary, must be made available, as this knowledge sets the framework for a positive self-image and identity, and teaches them they can achieve and overcome adversity as their ancestors before them.

    Learning history, teaches about behavior and events of the past, which helps to avoid past mistakes..

  • Not only can history be told to help us to understand what is going on in the world, to understand ourselves and others, to understand change, to understand how to be good citizens, to help us make better decisions, but it can also help us to not repeat the past mistakes that have been made.

  • Sheehan talks about how history can provide us a lesson from the past so that we can live to have a better future (Sheehan, 2005). He discusses the fact that by sharing history with students can make it where moral and practical lessons are being taught so that we know how to behave in the future.

  • Sheehan also brings up an important point about using more than one history to teach things so that the history blunders or falsehoods that have been taught can be brought out in the open (Sheehan, 2005). This is extremely important for African American history so that students can learn and understand the history that their ancestors helped to create that helped to make America a better place to live.

  • Racial socialization has been defined as "the developmental processes by which children acquire the behaviors, perceptions, values, and attitudes of an ethnic group, and come to see themselves and others as members of the group".

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    african_american_concept_lion_big_lady_liberty