Supporting the Inclusion of African American Studies in Public Schools

April 30, 2019

Alongside fellow legislators and key advocacy groups essential to last year’s passage of a similar bill which mandated the inclusion of Holocaust studies in the public school curriculum, I attended a legislative reception to offer her support for a bill that she believes will offer further equal representation in the social studies curriculum.

In promotion of HB 7082, An Act Concerning the Inclusion of African American Studies in the Public School Curriculum, the legislative reception highlighted the Connecticut Historical Society’s exhibit, “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow.” The exhibit on display now through Sept. 14, explores the struggle for full citizenship and racial equality that unfolded in the 50 years following the Civil War.

We must move beyond relegating the history and culture of African-Americans to a month or a handful of historical figures. All students should learn about the contributions of African-Americans across subject matter and throughout history.

A 2015 study conducted by the Nation Museum of African American History and Culture found that despite overwhelming enthusiasm about teaching Black History, in the U.S., only one to two lessons of the total K-12 class time was devoted to Black History.

Michael Bloom, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), one of the event’s sponsors said, “This legislation is critical. This is American history and it must be taught in all schools across Connecticut.”

HB 7082 received a joint favorable report from the Education Committee back in and is currently waiting to be called for debate and a vote on the House Floor. The 2019 Legislative Session ends on Wednesday, June 5.

Press Release: Rep. Gilchrest and Fellow Legislators Promotes the Inclusion of African American Studies in Connecticut Public Schools