Delaware public schools would be required to teach about Black history, under legislation filed in the General Assembly.
Sponsors of House Bill 198 said Monday that if it’s approved, the requirement to teach about Black history in K-through-12 classes in public and charter schools would take effect with the 2022-23 academic year.
“Isolating Black history to 28 days does a great disservice to the countless Black Americans who have contributed to our nation throughout the past 400 years. Black history is American history,” Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington, said. “The traffic light was invented by a Black man, Garrett A. Morgan. The cities of Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. were architecturally designed by a Black man, Benjamin Banneker. Ethel Hedgeman Lyle founded Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the first Black sorority, of which our current vice president, Kamala D. Harris, is a member. Mary McLeod Bethune established Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Fla., an HBCU. There are countless examples like these.”
Curricula would be developed in consultation with the state Department of Education and groups including the NAACP, programs at Delaware State University and the University of Delaware, and Eastern Shore AFRAM in Seaford, among others.
“American history is a rich tapestry of interwoven narratives about the struggle and success of people from many ethnic, racial, cultural and religious backgrounds,” State Senator Elizabeth ‘Tizzy’ Lockmnan, D- Wilmington, said. “Sharing that history with our young people gives them an opportunity to express those many viewpoints – as emotionally painful and ideologically contradictory as they may sometimes feel. Only by acknowledging and embracing the full history of Americans and all of its people can we begin to heal the wounds of past sins and begin to move forward with a common understanding of who we are collectively.”