Crash Course: Black American History

Clint Smith, author of How the Word is Passed, and staff writer at The Atlantic, hosts a new series called Black American History on the Crash Course YouTube Channel. As of today, June 4, 2021, there are 5 short videos on the channel, including an introductory preview. Though the videos are short (less than 15 minutes each), they probably already cover more Black American history than the textbooks that are currently in our public schools. For example, the 4th video covers Elizabeth Key’s legal battle for freedom — certainly a piece of history that was never covered in any of my classes.

Watching these videos can help people to understand the complexity of our country’s past and how it still has a strong hold over our present. For example, in the video that teaches about the slave codes that were written even before the United States was a country, the following quote refers to these laws of the 17th and 18th centuries:

From Crash Course Black American History “Slave Codes”

Unfortunately, statistics show that the disparity among races in consequences for breaking the law is still true in some places in our country today. While our current laws are not overtly racist like the slave codes, they are often enforced that way.

I look forward to learning more from this Crash Course series, and I hope that teachers will be able to use it in their classrooms — though, ironically, teachers in Texas and some other states may not have the freedom to do so.

I will be adding this post to my Wakelet of Anti-racism Resources.

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