Interpreting African American History

History 4231
04, September 2007
Interpreting African American History
The beginning of the handout starts off with a small poem from The Brownies Book.   The poem involves three children in a discussion on who they would like to be and who they admired from the historical figures in their books.   The poem’s main point lies at the end, where two of the children are reminded of the importance of African American figures from the past, and how they are just as important as any other historical figure.   This poems shows how African American history is often put as second priority while other historical figures such as Roosevelt and Betsy Ross remain prevalant in todays history lessons.   The goal is to bring African history out of the darkness and into the light as discussed in Carter Woodson’s essay.
Woodson’s essay points out society’s disregard for African history.   Woodson feels that the general world view is that   blacks lack a history worth mentioning, and that the African race contributed nothing of relevance to society.   The essay argues that in order to fight these views, blacks must read the history of Africa and of their ancestors.   By having a better understanding of the past, blacks will find out that they do have a history worth mentioning.   Within African history they will find the motivation for greater achievements.
      Mary McLeod Bethune holds a similar argument within her essay.   She believes that the youth will gain confidence and self-reliance by learning about African American history.   She also stated that when history is taught, the corresponding African American history should be taught along with it.   With knowledge of the past (Negro history), blacks will be able face the future with clear goals and objectives.   Next, John Hope Franklin adresses the hardships that come along with being a African American scholar.   Being a black scholar not only means you have to convince others of your ability to learn, but you also must struggle to...