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Del. Senate Advances Black History Requirement In Schools




The State Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that would require Delaware school districts and charter schools to teach Black history beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.

Sponsors contended that the lessons encouraged under House Bill 198 would be used to provide an education to all students on the Black Experience in the United States, including an examination of the “ramifications of prejudice, racism and intolerance in a more thorough context.”

“An accurate history of our nation and its people must make more than passing references to Black Americans and include a full account of our contributions to this country and its culture, well beyond the context of our subjugation,” Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D- Wilmington said. “Black people have been here from the very beginning. Embracing our full history and sharing it with our young people will give them an opportunity to understand the interwoven narratives of all our struggles and triumphs, as painful and ideologically contradictory as they may sometimes feel.” 

The Department of Education would consult with several groups in developing Black history curricula – the NAACP, Africana studies programs at UD and DSU, Delaware Heritage Commission, Eastern Shore AFRAM of Seaford and others.

The measure now goes to Governor John Carney for his signature.

According to the sponsors, Black history curricula would include:

  • The history and culture of Black people prior to the African and Black Diaspora, including contributions to science, art, and literature. 
  • The significance of enslavement in the development of the American economy. 
  • The relationship between white supremacy, racism, and American slavery. 
  • The central role racism played in the Civil War. 
  • How the tragedy of enslavement was perpetuated through segregation and federal, state and local laws. 
  • The contributions of Black people to American life, history, literature, the economy, politics and culture. 
  • The socio-economic struggle Black people endured, and continue to experience, in working to achieve fair treatment in the United States; as well as the agency they employ in this work for equal treatment. 
  • Black figures in national history and in Delaware history. 

“Black history is American history, and if it is not taught, it can easily be forgotten. When teaching the history of our nation, the achievements, challenges, contributions, struggles and triumphs of Black people should not be segregated, but be incorporated into the American story, just as they unfolded in history,” Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington said. “I am grateful to the support of my colleagues, but especially to the young people who took a leadership role in advocating for and advancing this important piece of legislation. I look forward to Governor Carney signing it into law so that future generations gain a fuller understanding of Black history.” 

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