It’s no secret that the many of the history curricula required to be taught in public schools do a piss-poor job of teaching about Black history outside of slavery and perhaps the Civil Rights Movement. As a result, many are shocked by the things they learn about their history in adulthood.
Recently, Missy Elliot took to Twitter to share how much she has learned about Black history in recent months. Specifically, about Black Wall Street. Ironically, she admits that her mother and aunts, who are seniors, had never heard of it either.
“My mom and my aunts said they never heard of The Black Wall Street & they are seniors so why didn’t school teach them about this either,” Missy tweeted.
“I feel like I’ve learned more about History in the year 2020 than ever.. So many stories I am seeing on here they never taught in my history classes smh,” she went on.
Many followers also chimed in that they, too, had just learned about Black Wall Street in recent years, which reminded me of my own experience. I heard about Black Wall Street once or twice in passing during my adult life. However, I learned the full story a little less than two years ago alongside my seventh-grade students. We were at an assembly for Black History Month and it was beautiful to see my Black students beam with pride as our principal showed pictures and described this prosperous Black community, which many of them had never heard of before. Sadly, the joy quickly left their faces when we got to the end of the presentation and they learned how the Greenwood District was completely destroyed in the Tulsa Massacre of 1921by white murderers, looters, and rioters. While it was heartbreaking to see how upset and angry my students were at the end of the presentation, I could still appreciate the fact they were able to learn about this part of history before they become adults like I did.
So, how old were you when you first learned about Black Wall Street?