Webinar Series Aims To Help Teachers Shape Curricula Around 'Hard History' Of Tulsa Race Massacre

May 19, 2020

A free webinar series beginning Wednesday aims to help Oklahoma teachers craft curricula and lesson plans for effectively teaching the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Dr. Karlos Hill, chair of the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the head of the Tulsa Race Massacre Institute, said that while the pandemic dashed plans for a third-annual, in-person program in Tulsa's Greenwood District, the limitation of moving programming online may also be an opportunity.

"In doing a webinar series, the goal was for us to have a much greater reach," Hill said. "Not just teachers in Tulsa, but also teachers around the state."

Hill said that the program aims to inspire and encourage teachers in a way that simply requiring them to teach the history of the white supremacist attack against Tulsa's Black community, which the Oklahoma State Department of Education announced earlier this year, can't.

"This isn't something that can be legislated into existence," Hill said. "That is where the summer institute comes in."

Hill said participants will learn from experts, community members, historians, and each other over the 4-week course.

"Teachers who have been teaching on the Race Massacre, who have developed curricula around the race massacre, can share what they have done, things that have worked, things that have not worked, best practices for teaching hard history," Hill said. 

Hill said he hopes educators who enroll in the webinar series will participate in the face-to-face summer institute program next year, planned to coincide with the centennial anniversary of the racist attack.

"It is a moment," Hill said, referring to the planned centennial, "where we can appreciate the ways in which victims and survivors and the community more broadly triumphed over the tragedy that was."

Announced speakers include Hill; historian Hannibal B. Johnson; journalist Randy Krehbiel; and Tulsa Public School teachers who have taught on the subject in their classrooms. Teachers interested in registering for the webinar series can do so here.