Episode 2

Defending History Education with My High School History Teacher

Since I graduated high school, my Advanced Placement US history (APUSH) teacher added sections to class about slave self-emancipation, mass incarceration, and the racism it the modern welfare system. And, this is the same teacher who showed us a video denying that Columbus discovered America because there were already people here the first week of class. She also helped my get my AP European History class approved to do a history tour of Europe senior year.

Needless to say, Jessica Wood is an incredible teacher that I needed to bring on the show. We spent time discussing the inspiration behind spending all day every day with high schoolers, problems in history education, her innovative solutions, censorship and the dangers of omission, and integrating history to dismantle oppressive narratives.

I wanted to take a step back and examine the flaws in history education that this podcast exists to address. I also just knew Mrs. Wood would be incredibly fun to talk to.

Being two historians, the references flew by faster than I could explain them, so here's a short guide to them.

Pol Pot (tbh, I had to look this one up here): Pol Pot was a radical Communist leader in Cambodia from 1975-1979. After the US military left the area, he gained control of the country and shut it off from the rest of the world. During that time, nearly 2 million people died as he disregarded their lives and enacted purges in pursuit of his goals.

Salacious alert? We saw the Statue of David in person during our European history tour. I thought it was very beautiful and snapped this pic.

Dawes Act: One of the many ways that the American government robbed Native Americans, it forced Native land to be owned by individuals rather than communally. After allotting land that way, most of the formerly tribal land was sold to fund programs to "civilize" Native Americans.

White League, KKK, and Southern politics: We will definitely get into this more in future episodes. After (and even during) Reconstruction, groups like the KKK used violence and intimidation to keep Black people from voting allowing the government to be run by like-minded people. They would even drive out legitimately elected Republican governments at times. Since this helped Southern politicians to keep power, they allowed this to happen.

Wyoming and voting for women: Wyoming did actually refuse to become a state without voting rights for women because women were so essential to building the Wild West.

Susan B. Anthony, the Lovings, and John Lewis: They each broke unjust laws they believed were unjust to bring attention to the injustice. For Susan B. Anthony it was women not being allowed to vote. For the Lovings, it was interracial marriage being illegal. For John Lewis, it was segregation. And, in disrupting the system, each faced criticism and the legal system.

Patrick Henry: He said "Give me liberty or give me death" in the face of colonists who were hesitant to go to war with Britain which inspired many.

The 1776 Commission is the White House's 'patriotic' counter to the 1619 Project.

Nat Turner: He saw himself as chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery and mounted a huge slave rebellion. It ultimately failed, but it violently busted the myth that slaves didn't mind their plight.

Further reading [As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]:

Mrs. Wood suggests: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

1984 (https://amzn.to/3pzTEs3) is also a very timely read.

Music Credits:

PeaceLoveSoul by Jeris (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/VJ_Memes/35859 Ft: KungFu (KungFuFrijters)

About the Podcast

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We the (Black) People
An American History Podcast

About your host

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Brooklyn J-Flowers

I have a class of 2020 History B.A from the University of Chicago and I want to look into the past to help America deal with our present and move forward!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.