Maryland Schools Embrace Black History

By Danois, Ericka Blount | The Crisis, January/February 2004 | Go to article overview

Maryland Schools Embrace Black History


Danois, Ericka Blount, The Crisis


At a fund-raising gala for the Reginald R Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore on Dec. 11, an irreverent Bill Cosby said African Americans should send a card saying, "It's late, but thank you!"

The $33 million museum is named after the late Reginald F. Lewis, a Baltimore native who was the first African American to start a Fortune 500 company - TLC Beatrice Holdings International, Inc. But the museum will not only be a chronicler of history; it has now become a part of it.

The museum collaborated with the Maryland Department of Education to create a curriculum of African American history and culture to be taught to public school students. The effort will be the first time ever that a state department of education will incorporate African American history into the curriculum of its public school system.

"We want African American children to understand their history and grasp their connections to the past," says Charles Christian, chair of the Maryland State Department of Education's Museum Education Task Force and professor of geography at the University of Maryland. "We also want to introduce the African American experience to nonAfrican American children."

In 2000, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick appointed a task force to create a curriculum linking Maryland's content standards for social studies, English/language arts and fine arts to the three major themes of the Lewis museum, which are labor, arts, family and community. …

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