This study is a mixed-methods text analysis of African American representation within K-12 U.S. History content standards treating the revolutionary era, the early U.S. republic, the Civil War era, and Reconstruction. The states included in the analysis are Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Virginia. The analysis finds that the reviewed standards devote considerable space to African Americans during the formation and development of the United States, but the nature of this inclusion is typically superficial and tends to trivialize the systemic institutional contexts of slavery and racial hierarchy. The standards also typically do not engage students in cognitively demanding historical thinking processes and avoid engaging students in critical analysis of historical racial tensions in order to promote a consensus narrative of social cohesion and national development. While the standards cannot be faulted on the grounds of numeric inclusion of African American names and events, they do not substantively promote critical thinking about the construction of racialized identities and their role in the political, economic, social, and cultural contexts of U.S. history.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science