When it comes to teaching students about slavery in the United States, teachers often stumble through the topic. In the worst cases, they use poorly conceived lessons that end up inflaming students, parents and communities about a subject that is already difficult to deal with because of the inhumanity involved.
In 2012 in Georgia, a third-grade teacher resigned after an investigation found the teacher and three others had assigned math homework with word problems about slavery, such as, “If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”
Every American should know that several U.S. presidents – including some of the Founding Fathers – were slaveholders. Twelve U.S. presidents held anywhere from one to hundreds of people as slaves. The nation’s first president, George Washington, enslaved over 300 people and held slaves for 56 years. Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s third president, held 600 persons as slaves.