Black Male History Teachers Make a Huge Difference in How Students Are Civically Engaged

My first Black male teacher, Mr. Gordon at F. L. Stanton Elementary School in Atlanta, was the most impressionable history teacher I ever had. Mr. Gordon was cool because his son was in the same grade asme . He definitely had the swag of that era. All the kids loved and respected Mr. Gordon. 

As I reflect on Mr. Gordon, I see  how my colleagues are inspiring and helping build up the next generations of thinkers, builders, and creators. Teachers, yes teachers, are doing the work of building the next generations of thinkers, creators, laborers, educators, Civil Rights leaders, and builders. 

Black men play a pivotal role in how curriculum and culture will be represented in public schools 2022 and beyond. 

Earlier this year, I honored two Black male educators, both history teachers, Anthony Downer and Alfred Shivy Brooks. Brooks recently ran for Atlanta City Council elevating his public engagement and service. Downer is the host of dat way on wednesdays through educational entities

However, both of the teachers are elevating the voices of Black males in education and the heated debate over critical race theory. It’s important to have Black male teachers in the social sciences, especially  those who teach American history and government. Too often Black children are being taught to only go and be productive, creative, and safe by working for someone else and accepting what’s given to you. 

Black male history teachers are leaning more into social justice initiatives and reforms to engage more of this generation in civic engagement. 

Brooks believes that improving teacher pay and respectability of the profession will improve public education. He has been on the frontlines of advocacy and supporting civic engagement amongst youth. 

Downer is leading conversations around critical race theory and sharing that the real impact of anti-CRT critiques is the lack of  advancement of Black and brown students. This generation of young people are engaged civically.

They are not just attending protests, but also speaking on social media platforms about equity in schools, societal issues, and leading voter education initiatives. 

The dat way podcast Downer leads on the 2nd Wednesday through educational entities led by Jason B. Allen, has included several student guests. Students get a chance to engage with their teacher out of the classroom on topics around social justice, race, and culture. 

Black students want to be seen in the curriculum that we’re teaching them in order to help them to be successful in our society.

Citizenship, civics, and government are important aspects of history Black male teachers thrive in teaching and quite frankly we need to in order to help us improve educational outcomes for Black students. 


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