Letter: Schools should not leave out lessons on race riots

Dylan Aldridge

Dear Editor,

Do you ever question what you were taught in school until you received your high school diploma? The education we receive from age 5 to 18 is extremely important to shaping our lives, so I am confused as to why many important events are left out.

I certainly remember learning about peaceful protests, slavery and segregation. These subjects, however, are cherry-picking at the history of the United States. While we are taught about slavery, we were not taught the enormous injustices against the African-American community that happen right on our doorstep, far after slavery.

How convenient is it that I was never taught about the Springfield race riot of 1908? A mob of white men went through black neighborhoods, destroying black businesses and homes, killing nine African-American people in the process. Five white men were killed in the mob as well, and while of course the African-American community was blamed, they were killed by state militia.

While I’m sure that some schools may learn about this, I know many who did not, and it is certainly not the curriculum. Why are we not being taught about the injustices of our own city? Is Springfield too small for the curriculum? What about the Chicago race riot of 1919 (38 dead), or the East St. Louis race riots of 1917 (est. 50-250 dead)? The curriculum chooses the easy subjects to talk about, which hides America’s ugly and blood past as if it wasn’t bloody enough with what the curriculum does include.

Dylan Aldridge

 

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