The University at Buffalo of the State University of New York System has announced the establishment of the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education. The center, founded and directed by Black history education scholar LaGarrett King, will use research, teacher professional development, networking, and advocacy to answer the enduring question: What is Black history education? The center will also create a Teaching Black History Certificate program for teachers and educators to use as endorsements for instructing history classes in their school districts.
“I envision the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education as a very prominent space where K-12 educators, policymakers, teachers and other university personnel come to help us understand the effectiveness of how we should approach notions of Black history education, as well as try to understand the nuances of race and racial literacy,” Dr. King said.
The center’s signature event will be the Teaching Black History Conference, which will bring together hundreds of educators from around the globe to learn the curricular and instructional practices surrounding Black history education. The theme for the upcoming conference is Mother Africa. The event is scheduled from July 22-24.
“You can’t teach Black history without teaching about Africa,” notes Dr. King. “The first time that schoolchildren learn about Black people is through enslavement. We miss out on thousands of years of history. Black people throughout history have never just been simply oppressed. If we look at understanding them as different ethnic groups and cultures in Africa, then you get to understand their humanity.”
Dr. King joined the Graduate School of Education in January as an associate professor of social studies education. He was previously the Isabella Wade Lyda and Paul Lyda Professor of Education at the University of Missouri. He had created a similar center at the University of Missouri.
Dr. King is the co-author of Teaching Enslavement in American History: Lesson Plans and Primary Sources (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2022). He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies education from Louisiana State University and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Austin.