Hard History with Dr. Jeffries

March 18, 2021

This past Tuesday, our staff was graced with the opportunity to hear from Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, a historian and professor who teaches classes centered on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Among the many incredible things he has done to share his wisdom with others is hosting the podcast Teaching Hard History.

This week, Professor Jeffries spoke with a group of Durham independent schools about the concept of teaching hard history. My favorite moment came when he was asked “what is appropriate” to talk with lower school students about, at ages eight or younger. His quick and strongly worded response: all of it. While it’s obviously important to have these conversations at age appropriate levels, it was an important reminder that children of all ages need to be brought up with the hard stuff as foundational wisdom and not isolated knowledge.

This resonated so strongly after the year we’ve had that I thought it was a gem worth sharing with our lower school parents. Just some food for thought: instead of thinking “don’t be afraid to talk about the hard stuff”, try thinking “don’t forget to talk about the hard stuff”. You’ve likely already heard me say this, but kids are far more capable than we often give them credit for.

Natalie Ditmore
Lower School Director

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