Brooklyn Officials Fight To Combat Erasure Of Black History In Public Schools

After a slew of preventative measures has taken place in an effort to stop teaching black history across public schools in New York City, Brooklyn Democrats have taken initiatives to nix out the culturally insensitive idea.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson rallied on Wednesday (Feb. 14), in an attempt to revoke the idea. Additionally, they hope to place this issue on the governor’s radar within the next few weeks, The New York Daily News reports.

“We will not allow black history to be erased, to be denigrated, or to be put to the sidelines by ignorance,” Hamilton said. “We are here to make sure that our educational system embraces the accomplishments of people of color.”

This initiative couldn’t have come at a more timely juncture considering all the controversial things happening in NYC public schools regarding black history. For instance, Patricia Catonia, a principal at Intermediate School 224 in the Bronx recently landed in hot water for prohibiting the teachings of Lena Horne, an African-American jazz and pop singer. Reportedly, Catonia took a poster of the legendary artist from a sixth-grade student without an explanation.

The Horne family released a statement to The Root regarding the matter saying:

The Horne Family sends its love, support, and deepest respect to the students of IS 224 in the Bronx, and to the teacher of class 601, Ms. Mercedes Liriano-Clark. Lena Horne had wanted to be a school teacher, joining the ranks of teachers in her own family. Life took her in a different direction. Our family is outraged at the actions of Patricia Catania: A woman who apparently believes the way to educate American children is to deny them knowledge of great Americans. Lena Horne has been honored by the highest levels of government around the world, as have many of the artists of the Harlem Renaissance. They are, whether Ms. Catania likes it or not, architects of this nation.

To the two students who did the work, the third student who liberated it from confiscation, and Ms. Mercedes Liriano-Clark, it would be our great privilege to meet with you and share stories of Lena Horne. Thank you for choosing to honor her with your project.

She sees you from above and sings, for you.

 

Other incidents have taken place like at Queens’ Christ the King High School where 17-year-old student Malcolm Xavier Combs, was prohibited by his principal to get his first and middle initial printed on a school sweatshirt.

Still, governmental officials are determined to make a change and push to implement schools to teach its students about black history. “The truth is African-American history is American history,” Richardson affirmed. “Now is the time for this bill to come alive.”