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Writers Against Racism: Joy Hakim’s A HISTORY OF US

There’s still more to report from Denver and the PoCC. But it’s taken me a week to re-enter the atmosphere from the mile-high city.

And last week after returning home, I had the rare opportunity to sit and watch television – YES, television! 
It was glorious and interactive. While I was feverishly sending my tweets to C-Span’s Book Talk (message board), a black woman phoned the station and accused the guest, Joy Hakim of not having blacks represented in her history books. I cringed because Joy’s history books are the most inclusive books you’ll ever read. And her response to the caller was most appropriate, "you need to read my books." 

I started using Joy Hakim’s A History of US, in my classes eight years ago. Back then I was disillusioned by the traditional history books (and still am) I was left with, and was determined to have my students leave that year, LOVING HISTORY. Up until then, they hated it.  So here comes Ms. Hakim, a former teacher and newspaper editorial writer, who authored a 10-volume "A History of US" and the 3-volume "The Story of Science." If you aren’t familiar with her, check out this 3-hour video that’s worth every minute, and then pass it along to educators who want more out of history. You may even catch my televised tweet at 43-minutes in.  


  1. B. Herrera says:

    I love the comments she made at the end about the more centralized we become in education, the more standardized we become and the less we trust and respect the individual teacher. When you take teaching control and respect away from the teacher, you might as well replace that teacher with a videotaped lesson because you take away every part of teaching which reaches the individual child.

  2. Amy Bowllan says:

    Thanks, B! She makes so many great points for educators and parents to take away. I appreciate the fact that she realizes how important it is for teachers to have a more worldly view, which in turn will enhance their classroom experience.

  3. Amy, your’re right. I cringe every time I mention that I’ve given additional information about a subject, or had students research further, and hear other teachers say, “But, aren’t you getting off topic?” I thought the topic was teaching students to be lifelong learners.