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We are committing educational malpractice’: Why slavery is mistaught — and worse — in American schools.

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In the preface to “The Geographical Reader for the Dixie Children,” Marinda Branson Moore, a teacher who founded a girls’ school in North Carolina, noted that she wanted to teach children about the world without it going over their heads. “The author of this little work, having found most of the juvenile books too complex for young minds, has for some time intended making an effort to simplify the science of Geography,” she wrote. “If she shall succeed in bringing this beautiful and useful study within the grasp of little folks, and making it both interesting and pleasant, her purpose will be fully accomplished.” The book was published in 1863, the same year as the Emancipation Proclamation and in the midst of the Civil War. Teachers could review the lessons with suggested questions in the back of the book. Part of Lesson IX’s suggestions read:

Q. Which race is the most civilized?
A. The Caucasian.
Q. Is the African savage in this country?
A. No; they are docile and religious here.
Q. How are they in Africa where they first come from?
A. They are very ignorant, cruel and wretched.

More than a century and a half later, textbooks no longer publish such overt racist lies, but the United States still struggles to teach children about slavery.

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Nap McQueen, the author’s great-grandfather, photographed in Texas around 1936. From the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture

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Click the link below for article:

https://www.nytimes.com

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