“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”– Nelson Mandela
I will always be a supporter of the teaching of all kinds of history in schools. Not the watered down, cleaned up version that goes easy on our consciences but the real, raw, heroic or dirty truth. We do not get to pick and choose what part of history we teach to the world, inside or outside of our classrooms. History should be allowed to speak for itself, unfiltered and unbiased, and each man, woman and child once confronted with the truth of our past, good or bad, should have the freedom to interpret, internalize, and make a decision as to how this information will impact our behaviors and thought processes in the future.
While here in Cincinnati I have had the opportunity of visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. I was pleased to see people of all races, ethnicities, and ages there. Institutions and museums like these serve to celebrate as well as enlighten us about our past and hopefully provide us with valuable life lessons. One can only hope that where necessary, they also provoke our consciences and stir within us feelings of empathy which hopefully prevents us and future generations from repeating destructive and hurtful behaviors of the past. But the fact is, not every one of us or our children will get to visit these museums, and some are even reluctant to teach it in their homes. That is why it is important that history be taught in our schools.
Whether it be the history of world wars, the great depression, the independence of our country, the holocaust or the history of the slavery of African Americans, we owe it to our children, we owe it to our ancestors, we owe it to the new upcoming generations, and we owe it to ourselves to let history speak for itself.
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”Sidney J Harris