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When I was in school, I was starved for information about who I really am. I ached to hear stories about people who look like me, or see the names of Black scholars in math or science, or even to talk about Africa, without talking about poverty and slavery. Today, too many Black schoolchildren are having the same experience.

Too often, students’ first exposure to Black History occurs through the study of slavery. Too often, Africans are portrayed in schools as savage, barbaric people. Those who came to the Americas were “lucky” because they were saved from savage, unstable, poverty-stricken Africa.

But the reality is, thousands of years of Black history existed before contact with Europe. Too often, teachers don’t know enough about the history of African civilizations to teach their students adequately.