American students are embarking on a new kind of Black history course, and they have a 12-year-old New Jersey peer to thank for it. 

Ebele Azikiwe, then a sixth grader, watched the George Floyd murder last year, and she decided she was done with her school’s watered down Black history they gave her every February. 

So she wrote a letter to her school’s administration demanding better, and it’s happening. has more:

“We learned about slavery, but did we go into the roots of slavery?” said Ebele, 12. “You learned about how they had to sail across, but did you learn about how they felt being tied down on those boats?”

Once Ebele’s letter reached national attention, New Jersey researchers studied the state’s Black history curriculum and found “students still had socioeconomic, cultural and racial blind spots,” according to 

With racism now officially deemed by the CDC to be a “serious threat” to public health, Ebele’s letter carries even more power. 

Ebele is only one student among a movement. Her classmates and peers around the country have been raising their voices so they can receive an education that is valuable to them. 

Back in February, an older group of students from Ebele’s hometown of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, made news for their own demands for better Black history courses. 

“We were definitely inspired by the rising action across the nation,” high school student Machayla Randall told ABC News. “Once we saw even local activists start to take action as well, we just needed our voice and we just needed to push for what we wanted.”

What Black History Must Be Taught?

Ebele, Randall, and students like them aren’t alone. They’re also young and have, in their own words, been kept from learning the history they seek. They don’t have the answers and they shouldn’t. Because they’re students. 

So the rest is on adults, these students’ families, historians, political leaders, school leaders, and more to offer kids a better option. 

Who’s the most fascinating figure in Black history to you and your family? What movements in history animate you? Get in touch and let’s popularize this together. Because these, and all, students deserve a better education. 


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