Teaching While Black From 10 Keys to African American History


Having spent over a decade in a California graduate school, I was pleased to be returning to the South. Plus, this time, I would have a job as a professor. Moreover, I would be teaching Black History. Who could ask for more, I thought.


I announced the first exam well in advance. Being a caring professor and understanding that many of my students were first-generation college students, I explained that to complete the exam they would have to purchase a relatively inexpensive “blue book” from the student store (25 cents).

Now, the term “blue book” has been used for generations. Hell, I have heard it mentioned in various movies, books and magazine articles before and after I left this unnamed university.

Well, low and behold, a white student went to the Dean and told him I was a racist. What? Yes, apparently, she felt threatened because I demanded that everyone use a blue book and that must mean anybody who used a special green exam book, some of which the student store apparently began printing that semester in an attempt to be eco-friendly, would fail. Patently absurd.

So, why was I even called in to talk to the Dean? Well, of course, the first reason was because this was, after all, just a Black History class. Nothing serious or worth respecting.

Second, this white woman had recently won the Confederate Daughter Prize. Oh, yeah, this was straight white supremacy in my face. No descendant of slaves has a right to be in front of a college classroom containing was the lesson.

Yes, this white woman suddenly became a make-believe liberal concerned and confused by my mention of a “blue book,” which professors have used to refer to college exam books for decades. And, as any of you who attended college know that is the name printed on the front of them. I am quite sure I was not her only professor to call them blue books, we all do. Just the only black professor!

See, these are the types of people who disrupt African American History courses behind the scenes. They are the reason most of us have little knowledge of self. Anyone who actually tries to convey information about racism gets sidetracked by silly, though effective, political games.


10 Keys to African American History is a book written by an historian who has taught in major colleges and published in top academic journals. He believes campus administrators and local school board leaders obstruct the teaching of black history to such a degree that most students graduate with no real understanding about race.

This book takes the ten most important concepts in African American History and explains them for a general audience. Knowledge of self can save your life.


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