Happy Juneteenth!

When I took a course in Black history as an undergraduate, I had a professor – the late Winston Van Horne – who was particularly adept at leading us on mental journeys back to the days of slavery. He had this peculiar way of making us feel we were witnessing the hardships and horrors of plantation life firsthand. Some of the lessons were quite upsetting.

So I understand why there is such a fierce debate raging today over how and to what extent the history of slavery in the U.S. should be dealt with in America’s K-12 classrooms. That’s one reason I became intrigued when Raphael E. Rogers, an education scholar at Clark University, told me he helps train K-12 teachers to teach students about slavery. He recounts some of the things he tells teachers in an article he wrote about how they can use historical records and the lived experiences of enslaved Black people to illuminate what America’s “peculiar institution” was really like.

This week we also liked articles about books for young people that deal with race, why there’s no way to know whether the coronavirus lockdowns were worthwhile and the history of mobile phones.

Jamaal Abdul-Alim

Education Editor

U.S. teachers often struggle to depict the realities of slavery in America. Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Here’s what I tell teachers about how to teach young students about slavery

Raphael E. Rogers, Clark University

Few issues are as difficult to deal with in the classroom as slavery in the US. Here, a professor who trains teachers on how to present the topic offers some insights.

Reading diverse books can help young adults understand conversations around race better. Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision

Summer reading: 5 books for young people that deal with race

Sarah J. Donovan, Oklahoma State University

While teachers are under increased pressure to tread carefully in the classroom on issues of race, books that deal with themes of racism can offer a way forward.

Names of lynching victims at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. AP/Brynn Anderson

How to heal African-Americans’ traumatic history

Taasogle Daryl Rowe, Pepperdine University; Kamilah Marie Woodson, Howard University

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice helps demonstrate that the lynching of black people was not the fault of victims. But telling this history risks re-traumatizing the black community.