‘Black History' Text Goes Beyond Slavery Into Contributions of Black Americans

Crowley ISD says the book is one part of a look at the diversity in American history

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Some of the students sitting and learning in Ronnie Nichols' class aren't even enrolled.

They're drawn here during lunch periods and study halls, by the low lighting and the soft sounds of music from the Harlem Rennaissance while students study and research Black Americans many of us have never even heard about.

Student KayKay Fleming is studying the role of Black people in the hair care industry. She said up until now she never knew all the positive contributions Black Americans made to our country's shared history.

"The [old] textbooks you were just reading about slavery, but in [the new] books we got, we're reading about the things we did, what we contributed, you know, the good side of it," said Fleming.

She's referring to Black History 365, an Arlington-based company that publishes American history books. The books are written by former educators, coaches, and business professionals and aim to teach kids in more detail about the contributions of Black Americans.

"No one really went in-depth. [They] spent a lot of time talking about the civil rights movement, slavery, but nothing about our worth," said Walter Milton, one of the authors of the book.

At a time when a person's race in school can be controversial, they detailed the time and energy spent on objectivity.

"We don't mince words, but we don't ever tip our hand in terms of what we think," said Joel Freeman, author. "We want this to be something that invites students, educators, parents — everybody — to be critical thinkers."

The book also tackles topics they call the "elephant in the room," encouraging conversation about issues often ignored for being hot topics.

The Crowley Independent School District is using it as part of a new course that's state-approved and tackles Black studies.

Several districts across the state have purchased the books and plan to use them in some way in the classroom.

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