As June comes to a close, we are reflecting on two particularly important moments and the role of education – and of educating – in the work of racial justice. June began with the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and also marked the declaration – finally – of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, 156 years after the day it commemorates.
Celebrating Juneteenth and drawing focus to events like the Tulsa Race Massacre is, of course, progress, but we can’t overlook the omissions in an anti-Black education system that these commemorations expose. Too many people have never heard of the violence in Tulsa, are unaware that Tulsa was just one of many race massacres in the United States, and can’t accurately articulate what Juneteenth celebrates. The telling of ‘American’ history has been designed and delivered within the greater system of white supremacy, one committed to erasing Black narratives in service of retaining and expanding its own power. Left unexamined, unchallenged, and uninterrupted, this dishonest history enables the perpetuation of anti-Blackness.
It is incumbent on each of us to fill gaps created by our own education and make the changes necessary to create a more just and antiracist education system. Developing this deeper understanding of a more accurate history of our country is a critical component of the work we must do to create a more just and equitable society. In that spirit, we’ve curated a set of readings, podcasts, interviews, videos, and visuals below that you can use as a starting point. Try choosing one daily, or branch off with one author or researcher or thinker at a time and commit to unlearning what we’ve been taught – and learning what we haven’t.
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