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Students debate ways to educate

When it comes to black history, some say there’s not enough in schools

POSTED: March 7, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Tom Reed /The Times

Frank N'Danema listens to a fellow panel member during the "Great African-American History Debate" at Gainesville State College Monday.

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To cap off Black History Month activities at Gainesville State College, five students discussed the value of black history education in schools.

The college’s Black Student Association and Debate Club sponsored the panel discussion, featuring Brittany Perry, Amon Kirk, Nicholas Humphrey, Frank N’Danema and Broderick Jones.

Kirk called for a mandatory cultural diversity class for faculty and students.

"Black history deserves more than a month," he said. "It deserves an entire year."

Kirk said that teachers within school systems "aren’t educated enough to teach studies of black history to realize its importance in the modern-day world, and students are too closed-minded to care about this teaching of history."

Humphrey said the United States "recognizes African history, but you never see any Italian history, any Irish history. You can almost say these histories are being forgotten, but they’re not.

"We’ve just set aside that because of the rough history that African-Americans have had in this country."

N’Danema said schools should offer a class in black history "but only to those interested" in learning about it.

Perry, who is black, said, "We should learn about our history because we already know about the history of America. We live here, we already know it, so let’s learn about our roots, where we come from."

Gainesville State has featured a month of events celebrating Black History Month under the theme "Changing the Black American Image Through History."

Other events included a panel discussion on last year’s peace march in Jena, La., after six black high school students were accused of attacking a white student; a performance by the West African group Sama To; sampling of homemade, Southern black cooking; and Saturday’s L.A. Waters African-American Male Recognition Banquet.

A presentation by Army Spc. Channing Moss on "Surviving the Pain and Wounds" is set for noon Wednesday in the Continuing Education/Performing Arts Center.

A former Gainesville State student and Black Student Association member, Moss will share his experience of surviving a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Afghanistan.


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