If we don’t tell our history

Crazy Faith Ministries

Charles and David Koch, ages 81 and 77 respectively, are two of the richest men in America and, worth an estimated $60 billion each, are tie for fourth on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest Americans, and sixth on the list of the wealthiest people in the world.

They are also raised and distributed nearly a billion dollars for the 2016 presidential campaign and are working to raise an exorbitant amount to support Republican candidates in the upcoming midterm elections and in the 2020 presidential race.

They are the sons of Fred Koch, who built oil refineries in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and grew to hate communism and big government. And they are working to mold America into a country, which reflects their ultra-Conservative positions.

They have what is called a “Bill Of Rights Institute,” where students are being taught, according to Michael Harriot of The Root a “far-right narrative on history, politics and economics.” The Bill Of Rights Institute is a 501 (c)(3) organization “that works to engage, educate and empower individuals with a passion for the freedom and opportunity that exist in a free society.”

While it is not surprising that the Right is teaching its ideology, it is troubling that this “Bill of Rights Institute” is including in its curriculum classes on Black History – to thousands of social studies teachers who will in turn teach that history to millions of students.

A video they produced on slavery was so inaccurate, says Harriot that it was removed from the BRI’s website. Harriot says that “in the 3,000-plus words on the civil rights movement, only four Black people are mentioned: Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. DuBois and Thurgood Marshall.”

Their history lessons also emphasize the role of White people in helping in the fight of Blacks for civil rights, but completely and conveniently leaves out the work of the rabid white supremacists who used fire hoses and dogs, who bombed houses, burned churches killed literally thousands of innocent yet determined Black people whose only crime was to fight for their civil and human rights in this country.

These revisionist, Right-leaning lessons are being taught to millions of school children, Harriot says, a fact that is deeply troubling.

It is a fact that not many Americans – Black or White – know the history of Black people in this country. It is too painful for either group to even think about. For Black people, knowing our history works against a thick wall of resistance to owning who we are; too many of us want to believe that our dark past is in the past and ought to stay there. It is painful to revisit and talk about what our lives have been in this country. Even in Black families where the history of “us” is talked about, some subject remain off-limits, like stories of how some of our relatives were lynched, raped or worse as they fought slavery and white supremacy.

Many Whites do not want to visit the history because they are afraid of being labeled “bad.” Their retort often to the story of Black people being lifted is, “why do you have to keep talking about it? It happened a long time ago. We didn’t do anything to any of you.”

But the White systems did do something to us …and to many Whites as well. Not learning the history doesn’t make the history disappear, and if we as Black people do not tell the story in this season of very wealthy White people trying to “make America great again,” which might more accurately described as an effort to “make America White again,” our history and the valiant and brave people who fought white supremacy and the evil called racism with every fiber of their beings might slip into nothingness. White people, not knowing the real history, will continue to call Black people “victims,” and Black people will continue to walk in hallways of ignorance, accepting misleading history and causing themselves to hate themselves even more.

While we are intent on teaching our children about Jesus – which is a good thing – we need to be just as intent about teaching them their/our history. Our children need to know Whose they are, yes, but also “who” they are. They need to know that our people are a strong people and have not only survived but have thrived in spite of all the efforts to erase and eradicate us from the annals of American history.

It is our duty to fight and it is our duty to win, the money of men like the Koch brothers notwithstanding.

Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Contact her at revsuekim@sbcgloba.net.

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