As part of the Zinn Education Project’s Teach the Black Freedom Struggle online people’s history series, historian Michael Hines joined Cierra Kaler-Jones, Rethinking Schools executive director, and Jesse Hagopian, Rethinking Schools editor and high school teacher, to discuss his book, A Worthy Piece of Work: The Untold Story of Madeline Morgan and the Fight for Black History in Schools

Several Teaching for Black Lives study group members were in attendance. Here are a few comments they shared in their evaluation:

Teachers have power! This work cannot be supplemental; it needs to be at the forefront.
Madeline Morgan, the O. G. of activists in educational reform!! I can’t wait to read more about her.
A reminder about the importance of not letting Black studies or ethnic studies become supplemental. It’s too easy to brush aside and have it taken away.
I will bring the information learned tonight back to my “Teaching for Black Lives” study group and to my rural public charter school. Let’s get this information out there and ignite passion in my students.
In our breakout session, we spoke about feeling angry about the whitewashing that occurs with textbook companies regarding the narratives of Black folks impact on and contributions to history.  We discussed how much further we have to go, how we can use primary sources to educate and how it empowers us to know that as educators we can disrupt this historic and current trend.  As one member shared, we are “…leading a revolution”. It may start small with some educators on board at first at our schools, and this is hopeful. The “Teaching for Black Lives” study groups is a valuable, appreciative way to lead this revolution.
I loved the idea that there are so many women to lift up with their experiences. I am looking for any way to incorporate a wide variety of perspectives in all that I teach in first grade.

Study group members were still buzzing about the session weeks later. During a monthly check-in session for Teaching for Black Lives study groups, Hagopian played the audiogram from the session below. Hines discusses “historians without portfolio” and the critical, often overlooked work of classroom teachers in the history of the Black education struggle.

An educator from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, said the class “was phenomenal” and a coordinator said the additional resources and classes are supporting the momentum of their group. 

A study group member from San Juan, Puerto Rico, resonated with Hines’ words and shared a childhood story that illustrated how her mother inspired her “to fight for the freedom to know our history. . . to tell the names of the women who were fighting.”