Several New Jersey teachers recently wrapped up a mandatory workshop to teach Black history in public schools in the Garden State.
The four-day workshop was presented by The New Jersey Amistad Commission. Two sessions were held in South Jersey at Rowan University and North Jersey at Kean University.
Educators were given access to prominent historians and scholars. The aim of the program is to teach additional methodological and pedagogical techniques, while looking at special topics in history. The curriculum will be integrated with social studies in grades K-12.
Assemblymembers William D. Payne and Craig A. Stanley created an Amistad Commission in honor of the enslaved Africans who gained their freedom after overthrowing the crew of the slave ship Amistad in 1839.
The goal is to introduce African-American history into the K-12 curriculum and to develop public programs on African-American history for children, families and communities.
“Many of our young people, particularly African-Americans, have a sense of lack of identity, that ‘I’m just here,’” said former Paterson Mayor Jeff Jones. “Once you begin to crack that seam and begin to understand ‘no, you’re not just here, you live here, you have contributions to make, there’s things you can do,’ you’ll see change.”
This summer the Amistad Commission institute presented “Civil Rights and the Schoolhouse: A Historiography of American Educational Policy Implications on Students and Teachers,” which looked at education and America’s civil rights struggle and examined the nation’s legal battles in the education arena throughout the 19th and 20th century.