Then and Now: Civil Rights Education and the Black Lives Matter movement

My research focuses on the connection between perceptions of the BLM movement and how history classes teach the Civil Rights movement. A consistent feedback that I received during peer review was that I should make sure I explicitly relate the textbook analysis to Black Lives Matters movement. When I was writing the draft, I didn’t want to overwhelm the reader by highlighting too many different aspects of the research, but my peers comments made me realize that explicitly referencing the BLM makes my argument more coherent. Going forward, I now know that I will definitely integrate popular media’s comments surrounding BLM throughout the research instead of putting it in a separate section.

Another comment that came up during peer review was that examples would add support to my claims and make the information less abstract. In the draft, I had a tendency to write about these general concepts, but I did not connect it back to my research topic. I know this is something I will need to pay attention to with the textbook analysis because I cannot just describe my findings. I will need to explain why those finding are relevant or add further support to my thesis. This commentary about examples also made me start thinking about what type of examples I want to use to back up my claims. At this point, I think I will rely primarily on the textbook analysis to showcase history education, and then use academic sources documenting the Civil Rights movements to show what things are being left out in traditional high school textbooks.

In my RBA, I want to use high school textbooks, academic sources, and popular media to demonstrate how Civil Rights education’s nationalistic tendencies and narrative approach to storytelling create unrealistic expectations for activism. My goals is for those 3 types of sources to present a coherent and persuasive argument that makes people consider the critical role education plays in shaping people’s preconceived notions surrounding race, activism, and political change.


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