It's been over fifty years since young black voices raised in protest and union across America for colleges and high schools to include Black Studies in their white curriculum studies. Very little was mentioned about the contributions Africans Americans made to this nation. The protests paid off and now practically every school high school and college level has a Black Studies program. But now in 2016 you hear many blacks complaining when black history is mentioned to them. They don't feel it's necessary to talk about it anymore, I remember a few years back I was trying to talk to my brother-in-law about the period of slavery when he stop me short and asked why was I talking about "something like that" and he accused me of being a "joy killer". This is becoming common. Very common, just to think we have gone from protesting and holding strikes on college campus to have Black Studies included in schools courses to being indifferent or bit angry when black history is mentioned. Oh well, below is one example of the gallant black people of the late 1960's who paved the way for Black Studies to be accessible in schools across America. PHILLY EDUCATION NEWS + VIEWS INDEPENDENT. READER-SUPPORTED. TWITTER FACEBOOK MENU MENU FOCUS ON MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION, FALL, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, 2002, THEME ARTICLES, CURRICULUM, MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION, POLITICS, RACIAL EQUITY,SEGREGATION AND DESEGREGATIONSeptember 25, 2002 — 1:31pm 1967: African American students strike, survive police riot to force change A student protest 35 years ago can be seen as the birth of multicultural education in Philadelphia by Ron Whitehorne In 1967, African American students all across the nation’s college campuses were shutting down classes and sitting in administration offices to demand Black Studies and the recognition from university faculties that history is not synonymous with the doings and viewpoints of white Europeans. The students were part of a broader movement for “Black Power”– for an end to the exclusion of African Americans from those institutions that control their lives. Schools in big cities like Philadelphia were a case in point. By the late 1960s, the Philadelphia public schools were predominately African American, but policy-making remained largely in the hands of white elites and politicians. The overwhelming majority of African American students attended segregated schools, with inadequate resources and a curriculum that reinforced the racial and social status quo. Students met with repression Inspired by the activism on the campuses and in the community, African American high school students here organized to demand changes in their education. On November 17, 1967, 3,500 students walked out of their classes and marched to the Board of Education to present their demands. The students called for the teaching of African American history, the right to wear African dress and the renaming of several predominantly Black high schools after African Americans who have contributed to our history. They were met by what many observers later characterized as a police riot. Assembling peacefully at the Board of Education headquarters at 21st and the Parkway, the students were confronted by two busloads of police, led by then Commissioner Frank Rizzo. Participants reported that Rizzo led the charge, telling his troops to “get their Black *****.” The result was that 22 people were seriously injured and 57 were arrested. The police acted on the initiative of Rizzo, whereas the reform-minded superintendent, Dr. Mark Shedd, reportedly favored negotiations with the students. While many leaders in the City spoke out against the unprovoked and /putal attack on the students, others defended Rizzo as the man who was “keeping the lid on” in Philadelphia. Rizzo rode this reputation to two terms as Mayor, becoming a darling of the Right across the nation. Fruits of the struggle The School District did respond positively to many of the students’ concerns. Following the student demonstration, an Ad Hoc Committee for the Infusion of African and Afro-American Heritage was created. The Committee made a series of recommendations which became the basis for School District policy. In April 1969, a directive from the Deputy Superintendent of Instruction announced that “the policy of the School District of Philadelphia requires every school to provide a well-rounded program of African and Afro-American history and culture for every child as an integral part of his total school experience.” A nine-point plan for implementation included staff development, curriculum reform, courses for parents, and the production of instructional materials. The District published a range of resource guides, model curricula, and other instructional material. Local activists and historians as well as scholars with national reputations were involved in creating these materials. A curriculum specialist position in African and Afro-American Studies was also created. In 1971, Rizzo made good on a campaign promise to sack Superintendent Shedd and put the brakes on many of the reforms of his administration, including the infusion of African American studies. But more recently, the District has publicly reaffirmed its commitment to the inclusion of African and African American studies and prioritized these goals in the curriculum. The struggle today is to translate the goals identified in the curriculum into pervasive and effective classroom practice. But the inclusion of African American experiences and perspectives is now School District policy. For that we need to honor those 3,500 students who, thirty-five years ago, had the courage and vision to stand up for their rights.