Tulsa Teachers Making Lesson Plans For City's Race Massacre

Tuesday, July 16th 2019, 8:22 pm
By: Robert McCarty

Fifty Tulsa teachers watched closely as OU Professor Karlos Hill explained the context for the Tulsa Race Massacre.

The group was part of Tulsa Public Schools second Race Massacre Institute, held at Wilson Training Academy.

“We want to make teachers comfortable with the history in such a way they can not only teach their students, but also encourage other teachers to take on this imperative of transmitting this historical knowledge to people throughout Oklahoma," said Hannibal Johnson, a noted author and historian of Black Wall Street.

Related Story - City to Scan Potential Race Massacre Grave Sites This Summer

Hale Junior High History teacher Michael Burrell-Bey said he hopes after the week of training he'll be better able to include black history in his lessons.

He said he's trying to correct history because textbooks often diminished or excluded the accomplishments of African Americans.

"Maybe a blurb, a paragraph here of there, on African Americans, but how can we not be part of the history if we were here?" Burrell-Bey said.

The Deputy Chief of Academics for TPS, Danielle Neves, said some students haven't heard of the massacre, and fewer have visited the area where it happened.

"There's a lot of surprise in some ways that this history happened and we find students making connections to the world they're living in today, the legacy of those events and how that is still showing up today,” Neves said.

The teachers will be creating lesson plans soon intended to make the massacre relevant to students. Burrell-Bey says that's important, especially for his 8th grade students.

"The reason they're not interested in some of the history taught now is because they don't see themselves in that,” Burrell-Bey said.

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