Ga. lawmakers working to create state African American studies curriculum

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 5:48 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia lawmakers have crafted a resolution to urge the state’s Department of Education to create an African American studies textbook and curriculum.

State Rep. Derek Mallow is co-sponsoring that resolution. He and local professor and historian Dr. Amir Jamal Touré believe this will change the way Georgian’s look and learn about African American history.

Telling the whole story — it’s what some lawmakers want to see Georgia’s schools do when it comes to students learning about African American history.

Rep. Derek Mallow is co-sponsoring House Resolution 96.

“African Americans have done great work in our country, in helping to not only build our country but to frame it and shape it,” said Mallow.

Mallow says there’s a need to have the correct history told in textbooks and HR 96′s passing will urge Georgia’s top educators to listen.

The resolution includes a textbook that would outline the contributions people of color have made to politics, technology, entertainment and more.

“He who tells the story tends to control the narrative. And that narrative is not controlled by African Americans and it’s important that the folks who have paved the way and who are pioneers are given due credit and recognition for their sacrifice, for their bravery, for their heroism,” said Mallow.

The resolution also says the textbook will cover historical periods in Africa and other areas around the world, from the Egyptians to the Moorish Empire and even to Savannah.

Local historian and professor Dr. Amir Jamal Touré says this resolution will give Georgians the true story when it comes to American history.

“I should say that what occurred is that, what we’ve been educated on, has been on mythology, not history. And so with regards to this we now finally get back to telling the true story because when you talk about Georgia history, it’s the story inclusive of a great number of people here in the state that made it possible,” he said.

Touré also gives tours around Savannah, educating others on its history and African American culture.

He believes this resolution would be impactful for everyone.

“I emphasize to folks when you understand other cultures, you are able to make bridges and connections. When you don’t understand other cultures, guess what? You can’t make connections,” Touré said. “So we all remain divided and this is a part of the healing and bringing us together with regards to the true story so young people understand, at least in the school system, they understand the proper foundation.”

Both Touré and Mallow believe the time to act is now, so everyone knows this history.

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