Just a few weeks in 2020 have made for quite a bit of learning for Missy Elliott when it comes to Black history, and she now questions why some of those lessons weren’t covered during her days in school. She expressed these sentiments in a Thursday, June 18 Twitter message in which she referred to 2020 as eye-opening.
“I feel like I’ve learned more about History in the year 2020 than ever,” she tweeted. “So many stories I am seeing on here they never taught in my history classes smh.” She added in response to someone on Twitter, “As much as social media can be toxic it has been a blessing not just for promoting product but to learn because I’ve learned so much in the last month it’s crazy.”
The lack of Black history being taught in U.S. schools has been a constant complaint among teachers and Black students through the years. Studies also have been released showing just how little students are learning about Black history in the classroom.
In 2017, for example, a study published by SocialStudies.org, showed that only “1 to 2 lessons or 8-9 percent of total class time is devoted to Black history in U.S. history classrooms.”
Today, with the death of George Floyd, and the protests that have followed, the nation has witnessed increasing displays of Black pride and postings about Black history on social media, some of which seemingly have caught Elliott’s attention.
In a separate message that the award-winning producer and rapper sent, she shared that her mother and aunts also have picked up a history lesson that they hadn’t quite learned in the past.
“My mom and my aunts said they never heard of The Black Wall Street & they are seniors so why didn’t school teach them about this either,” she tweeted.
Elliott’s tweets sparked an online discussion with people who said they weren’t taught much about Black history in school either.
“Same. I just learned about it too,” one of her followers wrote about Black Wall Street. “Every day I’m googling something I never learned in school. We need new books that tell the whole story!”
Black Wall Street was another name for the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the most prosperous African-American communities in the United States, and one that proved a threat to white capitalism.
In 1921, from May 31 to June 1, white mobs burned and destroyed Black Wall Street, killing some 300 people, and injuring hundreds of others. The damage left 35 city blocks ruined, as well as 600 Black businesses. Also, thousands of Black people were displaced.
The two-day horror is famously known as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which will mark its 100-year anniversary next year.
“I learned about Black Wall Street all because of DL Hugley breakfast club interview,” someone wrote in response to Elliott’s message. “I was truly angry how the school district has their picks on what they want us all to know.. smh.”
“That’s why voting for people who will teach Black history on your school board is so important,” wrote someone else. “Go to your school board meetings and see which members are advocating for us. Vote out the people who don’t support all children. Vote.”