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Don't Know Much About History: Is It Time To Change Public School Curriculums?

Do you remember high school history? The subject has the reputation of being “boring”, thick with names and dates that can be a chore to remember. But this hour we ask: How do the history lessons we learn in school shape the way we see the world around us?

In Connecticut, there are efforts by students of color to make changes to the social studies curriculum, requiring African American and Latino studies in public school.

We also talk with a panel of historians about some critical sides of American history that haven’t made it into history classes. How does the way we understand events from decades or centuries ago shape our views on race and inequality today?

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Ryan Lindsay - Reporter for Connecticut Public Radio and the Guns in America public radio reporting collaborative (@RLindsayReports)
  • Dr. Donald Yacovone - Associate at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research; he is currently writing a book called Teaching White Supremacy: The Textbook Battle Over Race in American History
  • Dr. Charles McKinney - Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College. He’s the author of Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina
  • Dr. Monica Muñoz Martinez - Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University and co-founder of Refusing to Forget, an educational nonprofit to raise awareness about state-sanctioned violence against Latinos in Texas. She is the author of The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in the Texas Borderlands (@MonicaMnzMtz)


Connecticut Public Radio: Students Call For African-American And Latino Studies Curriculum (Ryan Lindsay, March 2019) – “Many students told legislators that their schools rarely teach about black history beyond Black History Month, if at all, and if it is taught, it's often limited to slavery, civil rights, and "recycled" content that lacks detail and depth about the inventions, accomplishments, literature, art, and cultures of African-Americans and people from the African diaspora.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: Textbook Racism: How scholars sustained white supremacy  (Donald Yacovone, April 2018) – “The assumptions of white priority, white domination, and white importance underlie every chapter and every theme of the thousands of textbooks that blanketed the country. This is the vast tectonic plate that underlies American culture. And while the worst features of our textbook legacy may have ended, the themes, facts, and attitudes of supremacist ideologies are deeply embedded in what we teach and how we teach it.”

New York Times: Lynch Mobs Killed Latinos Across the West. The Fight to Remember These Atrocities is Just Starting (March 2019) - “But a new movement is underway to uncover that neglected past. It has unleashed discussions about the scramble for land or mining claims that frequently influenced these lynchings, as well as the traces of such episodes in resurgent anti-Latino sentiment and the question many parts of the United States are confronting: Who gets to tell history?”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.
Carmen Baskauf was a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil from 2017-2021. She has also contributed to The Colin McEnroe Show.

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