Civil Rights to Actually Be Taught

Gov. Haley Barbour likely shocked his staunchest supporters when he announced a bill authorizing public schools to add civil rights and human rights to the public-school curriculum in all grades. "I think the broader the curricula and history are, the better it is for the students," Barbour said at the March 20 announcement.

Senate Bill 2718, which becomes law July 1, will appoint a commission to help districts develop the contemporary curriculum. The commission is also set with the more daunting task of acquiring funding for the curriculum, which does not have money assigned by the Legislature.

Leslie McLemore, a political science professor at Jackson State, praised the curriculum addition, saying the college students coming to his class too often carry little to no knowledge on the civil and human rights struggles that happened in their own state.

"I find everyday, all the time, that these students have not been exposed to civil rights. If they know anything at all, it's Martin Luther King, or Rosa Parks. You might find a few who know Medgar Evers or Fannie Lou Hamer, but it is very few and far between," he said.

"Once this curriculum is in place a lot of students are going to be able to see their families in the narrative, as a part of the history makers."

McLemore warned, however, that the districts will have to be "very creative in finding the dollars to get this done."

Previous Comments


Adam, I'm curious... Will the ongoing Women's Lib and Gay Rights movement be part of this? After all, they are historically part of the human rights movement.



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