A History Lesson Beyond the Classroom

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Teachers in Gadsden County are getting a refresher course in African-American history. The teachers say the impact of what they're learning goes beyond the classroom.

Forty school teachers in Gadsden County immersed in lessons of slavery, the civil rights movement, aspects of American history not talked about in many classrooms, or if so, briefly.

Sheantika Wiggins said, "If we teach the kids now in the school system and then fuse it into the curriculum, it won't be such a surprise that there are more successful people beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are others who've contributed to our society, and they can identify with that as a child."

The workshop at East Gadsden High School was organized by Florida's Task Force on African-American History. Officials with that group say a state law mandating the teaching of African-American history in the classroom has been around more than a decade.

Sandra Riggins said, "The kids don't see themselves in the curriculum as African-Americans and how we made a part of this great nation."

The thought is that students who identity with what they're studying feel better about themselves.

Geraldine Davis said, "When people broaden knowledge of themselves they get pride in themselves and they improve themselves."

One teacher admitted to not knowing a lot about the contributions of African-Americans to our nation's history, but says it's never too late to learn.

On Friday, the teachers will take a tour of the historic Riley House in Tallahassee as well as other historic landmarks across the Big Bend area.