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VIDEO: An Educator Answers FAQs on Teaching Black History

Dawnavyn M. James is an early-childhood, elementary, and Black history educator, and an emerging scholar at the University of Buffalo. Through her social media platform (@queendomteaching) and the recent publication of her book, Beyond February: Teaching Black History Any Day, Every Day, and All Year Long, she offers guidance for educators on how to center Black History in their classrooms.

In an email exchange with EdWeek Opinion, James, a former kindergarten teacher, shared, “It’s important to acknowledge that Black people exist within the history of our world. Through the use of resources like picture books and primary sources, we can teach fuller and accurate Black histories to young children in our communities.”

Here, she answers some of the most frequently asked questions she receives from educators.

Q: How can I find picture books to use for teaching Black history?

Q: How do I teach Black history if most, or all, of my students are white?

Q: How do I teach Black history as a white educator?

In this FAQ response, James’ “shout-out” refers to educators Daniel P. Tulino, Greg Simmons, and Brianne R. Pitts for the EdWeek Opinion essay they authored in 2021: “How Can White Teachers Teach Black History? Six Things You Need to Know.”

Q: How do I respond when people ask if I am teaching critical race theory (CRT)?

Q: What should I do if I’m teaching Black history, and a student becomes emotional in my classroom?

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