Cedric Howie, Professor of Economics
Professor Cedric Howie has been a full-time member of the faculty in Economics at Schoolcraft College for 31 years. Prior to coming to Schoolcraft, Professor Howie taught at colleges and universities in South Carolina, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Japan. His area of concentration is in microeconomics.
To help celebrate Black History Month, we’re pleased to share “My Story, My Voice,” a series of essays written by Schoolcraft College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Please go to schoolcraft.edu/BHM to read the complete collection.
By Cedric Howie, Professor of Economics
During February our country observes Black History Month. This is a time to learn about key figures, concepts, and texts representing African American history. Writing reflectively can develop one’s opinion on a topic. This year, I’m reflecting on Black History Education.
The desire to write about and learn Black History is not a new priority in Black communities. Black educators, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and Carter G. Woodson, historically wrote Black literary resources to correct white writers’ omissions and misrepresentations.
Black History Education became more mainstream during the Black Power Movement. The Movement prompted some states to create legislation mandating Black History Education in public schools. Subsequently, Black History Education has experienced growing pains as it is conceived, perceived, and taught. A prominent educator, Gloria Ladson-Billings, wrote in her 2003 Critical Race Theory: Perspectives on the Social Studies, “when schoolchildren learn ‘Black history,’ they learn that Black people are relatively insignificant to the growth and development of our democracy and our nation, and they represent a drain on the resources and values.”
We dishonor Black History Education when we teach about Black history instead of through Black history. The study of Black history should nurture the understanding of the importance of Blacks in America. Teaching through Black history means teaching from the actual historical experiences and voices of Black Americans.
Black History Month is an opportunity to reinvent Black History Education. When Black History Month was originated, Black History Education was little talked about or written about, leaving the impression that Black Americans had a minimal contributing presence in our country’s history. Ideally, there would be no specific month for Black History or Black History Education; it would be an integral part of the American story continuously.