NPR

Why Schools Fail To Teach Slavery's 'Hard History'

A new report says too many students don't know the basics of American slavery and too many teachers feel ill-served by bad textbooks and timid state standards.

"In the ways that we teach and learn about the history of American slavery," write the authors of a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), "the nation needs an intervention."

This new report, titled Teaching Hard History: American Slavery, is meant to be that intervention: a resource for teachers who are eager to help their students better understand slavery — not as some "peculiar institution" but as the blood-soaked bedrock on which the United States was built.

The report, which is the work of the SPLC's Teaching Tolerance project, is also an appeal to states, school district leaders and textbook-makers to stop avoiding slavery's hard truths and lasting impact.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR7 min read
How Georgia Became A Surprising Bright Spot In The U.S. Solar Industry
Solar is booming in Georgia, and it's not because of state mandates supporting renewable energy or concerns about climate change. Instead, powerful market forces are driving the growth.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban On Trademarking 'Immoral,' 'Scandalous' Words, Symbols
The decision paves the way for a clothing line, FUCT, to get its trademark. But the justices were split on how far is too far and which words they would find to be the most vulgar and profane.
NPR6 min readPolitics
U.S. Mideast Plan Rejected By Palestinian Leaders, Panned By Former U.S. Envoys
The White House unveiled its economic peace proposal for Palestinians on Saturday: $50 billion for Palestinians and countries in the region. It isn't clear who would contribute the funding.