Doing Justice to History

Transforming Black History in Secondary Schools

January 2016
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    28th January 2016
  • ISBN 9781858565521
  • Language English
  • Pages 190 pp.
  • Size 6.125" x 9.5"

The History curriculum in schools adopts a grand narrative approach that pushes the history of the non-dominant to the margins and even to obscurity. To secure an authentic approach to Black history, the authors have developed an enquiry-based approach that gives teachers the knowledge and confidence to teach the History curriculum inclusively.

The book presents five discrete enquiries. Of three on African-American history, the first deals with the Civil Rights movement, asking why Robert E. Williams has been forgotten. A chapter takes teachers up to Obama’s time, and a third, written by Jenice Lewis, describes how the US program, Teaching for Change, has pioneered work that imbues history teaching with justice.

The two chapters on British Black history tackle the issue of invisibility, asking why Somali people decided to unpack their bags in Britain; and why Claudia Jones, founder of the first Black journal in England, and founder of the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival has no memorial plaque outside her house in England nor in her homeland. One chapter on African history looks at African Empires and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and one looks – sideways – at apartheid in South Africa.

"This engaging and timely book provides classroom teachers with essential knowledge and powerful examples of imaginative ways to implement historical enquires in their classrooms, enabling students to think creatively and deeply about the ways in which history is constructed and reconstructed within different social, political, and economic contexts. The authors also describe ways in which teachers can help students to construct counter-narratives, challenging master narratives that marginalize victimized racial and ethnic groups. This innovative, informative, and needed book deserves a wide and attentive audience."

James A. Banks, Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair in Diversity Studies, and Director, Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington

"As a trainer of history teachers, I am particularly impressed by the thoroughness and winning detail with which the book builds teachers’ knowledge and the care taken to suggest analytic angles from which students might consider it."

Dr. Christine Counsell, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

1. Pugilists, diggers and choreographers
2. Transforming the teaching of the transatlantic slave trade
3. The story of Timbuktu
4. Forgotten stories in the African American Civil Rights Movement
5. Teaching the history of apartheid in South Africa
6. Black British history: Is there any Black in the Union Jack?
7. British Somali history: Innovation in Black British history
8. Transforming Black history in teaching: Three case studies:
8.1. Challenging historical fear and loathing: Black history instruction in the United States, by Jenice L. View
8.2. Student and teacher activism and the pursuit of justice in the history curriculum at George Mitchell School, by Martin Spafford
8.3. Case studies of history beyond the classroom: The South African history educational visit and Black History Month celebrations at St Mary’s High School, Hendon, UK, by Michelle Hussain
9. Conclusions: The transformation of Black history in secondary schools

Abdul Mohamud

Abdul Mohamud is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London.

Robin Whitburn

Robin Whitburn lectures in History at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London.