Document Type



The debate about what should be taught to school children about slavery has been around since the days of Reconstruction. During that time, it was clear that different parts of the country wanted to teach different versions of that history. In certain parts of the country, many state legislatures believed it was best for parents to have those conversations with children. While in other parts of the country, it was clear that schools wanted to teach the a complex and accurate historical account. We can see the roots of this debate in the heated, divisive responses to the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2020. In the aftermath of this unjust killing of many African Americans, and the many protests that followed, numerous changes started to occur across educational fields. Yet just because different people want educational changes to occur, doesn't necessarily mean they will happen. I will use my own analysis of textbooks as well as the Massachusetts state standards to examine both the strengths and weaknesses of history education today. By doing this, I aim to offer guideposts to improve the way slavery is taught in schools and provide input as to how it can be revolutionized when textbooks offer sound historical methods and accurate information about one of most cruel and unjust periods in US history, and by exploring these standards, I intend to offer a new proposal for social justice-based lesson plans.


Elementary and Early Childhood Education & History

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Robert Sylvester, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Margaret A. Lowe, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Jacquelynne Boivin, Committee Member
Dr. Paul Rubinson, Committee Member