Three Years After Protests, Educators Plant Seeds for 'Black History Renaissance' at MU

Jul 24, 2018

James S. Rollins, known as the father of the University of Missouri, owned 34 slaves.

Not all 4 million slaves were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Between 1877 and 1950, white mobs lynched 60 black Americans in Missouri.

When Ashley Woodson, associate director of the MU Carter Center for K-12 Black History Education, shared facts of this kind with history teachers, many were astounded. Some were hearing them for the first time. Most were uncertain how to approach such topics in the classroom.

It's not surprising, but it's something Woodson and her colleague, LaGarrett King, the founding director of the newly launched Carter Center, are working to change.

The Carter Center — named for Carter G. Woodson, known as the father of black history — is King's brainchild, and its mission is three-fold:

  • To conduct research on black history education;
  • To evaluate and enhance K-12 black history instruction with teachers;
  • To design K-12 black history curriculum for teachers and districts. 

Drawing on years of professional and personal experiences, the center's founders say a better understanding of the history of all Americans is key to creating a more equitable society.

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