Black History with an Assist from Tech and Community

When I finished designing and teaching The Black Experience in America: The Course, and I wanted to share it with a wider audience, one of the first people I thought of was Josephine Baker.

Mrs. Baker was my teacher for 5th and 6th grade at Shepherd Elementary School in Washington, D.C., between 1986 and 1988. In her classes I learned from a meticulously prepared Black educator who had high expectations of the entire class. She was a larger-than-life figure in the classroom, and she thoughtfully wove Black history into our social studies curriculum.

(A side note: Mrs. Baker has since had a broad impact on education across the entire city and beyond. She became Chair of the D.C. Charter School Board, defying convention and achieving results Check out this piece on her at The 74.)

So, I reached out to a former elementary school classmate, got Mrs. Baker’s email address, and sent my teacher a note about The Course. I got an supportive note back from Mrs. Baker, encouraging me to continue to push forward and make a difference. In that spirit, I begin Black History Month.

Each of us has an opportunity to create space for learning and thoughtful discussion. I hope The Course, with an assist from technology, helps you to do that at home, at school or among friends.

Take Lesson 1


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New: Buy a $5 lesson in The Course for someone else! Fully-paid access to an interactive lesson will go to the email address of your choice. This is a great option for introducing kids to the lessons.