Only 3 States Teach Civil Rights History?


When most people think of Civil Rights the only people that come to mind are Rosa Parks , Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. Could this be because our school systems are “dumbing down” our education? Don’t African Americans have the right to be taught our history?The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and discrimination, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.They recently did a study called Teaching the Movement: The State of Civil Rights Education 2011,  which examined state standards and curriculum requirements related to the study of the modern civil rights movement for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The study gave grades to each state based on how well the schools academic standards address the civil rights movement. 35 states received an F because their standards required little or no mention of the movement.

8 of the remaining 12 states earning A, B,  or C grades were Southern states where major protests, boycotts or violence have taken place. Alabama, Florida and New York were the only states given an A. Those states require detailed teaching about all Civil Rights events.

The study also found that when states teach the civil rights movement, they tend to perform well on teaching leaders and events. They are  less likely to include the obstacles that civil rights activists faced, like racism and white resistance, or to mention more than civil rights related-holidays to students before they reach high school.

Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. It produces and distributes tools at no cost to teachers, including Teaching Tolerance magazine, online curricula and professional development resources, and multimedia teaching kits that introduce students to various civil rights issues.

Do you feel you learned anything about Civil Rights in school? Do you think that schools further from the south teach the movement less? Give  us your feedback and tell us what state your from.



  1. I learned about Black Empowerment movements outside of school, primarily, even though I live in one of the states they listed as teaching about the Civil Rights movement. It was glossed over for us in a day or so, and all topics pertaining to Black people were treated with outright racism and contempt. It was in college that the topic was treated with respect and awe.

    My parents taught me outside of school, so I already knew a nearly full story by the time I went to college. Education begins in the home. Black people NEVER BEFORE relied on White schools to teach us anything. So what they did in school didn’t matter.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.