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We Talk To History Teachers About Their Approach To Black History Month




McDonogh #35 Senior High School graduate Malik Hayes (2nd L) stands with family and friends at his commencement at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on May 14, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
McDonogh #35 Senior High School graduate Malik Hayes (2nd L) stands with family and friends at his commencement at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on May 14, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Black History Month dates back to 1969, when black educators and students proposed the idea at Kent State University in Ohio. 

Now, Black History Month is celebrated in a myriad ways, including in schools, where teachers often use it as an opportunity to highlight aspects of black history or the black experience that are not a part of the curriculum. The range of approaches to Black History Month is wide and varied, with some teachers choosing to focus on the joyous aspects of black history while others focusing on lesser known figures. And some teachers acknowledge the month but feel that black history is history, and needs to be incorporated more thoroughly in the yearlong curriculum. 

We sit down with three history teachers to discuss their approach to Black History Month. Plus, what did you find most illuminating or surprising when you had Black History Month in school? What did you learn or wish you had learned? Or if you’re an educator, what’s your approach? Call us at 866-893-5722.

Guests: 

Malcolm Green, retired social science high school teacher who taught in Pomona Unified District for 40 years; he also ran a mentoring program club for African American students for 20 years

Miguel Covarrubias, 10th and 11th grade history teacher at Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Downtown Los Angeles; he’s been teaching in LAUSD for 20 years; he’s also a Teacher Leader at the UCLA History-Geography Project, which trains SoCal teachers

Khalif Rasshan, retired history teacher who taught 5-12th graders in Pomona Unified School District for 36 years; he is the co-founder and curator of the African American Museum of Beginnings in Pomona