In 2002, Assemblymen William D. Payne and Craig A. Stanley sponsored a bill that resulted in the Amistad Law. The Amistad Law requires that New Jersey schools incorporate African American history into their social studies curriculum. According to the New Jersey social studies curriculum standard Era 11 requires students to compare the varying perspectives of victims, survivors, bystanders, rescuers, and perpetrators during the Holocaust. A careful examination of the New Jersey Jewish Holocaust curriculum reveals that this curriculum is absent of the requirements of the 2002 Amistad Law.
Additions to the social studies Jewish Holocaust curriculum should include requiring curriculum materials and speakers that are associated with the Wiener Holocaust Library. The library was started by Dr. Alfred Wiener which host the world’s largest British collection of original Nazi era and Holocaust materials. One of the most promising library materials is a news article titled “The Persecution of Black People in the Nazi Camp System”. Other curriculum materials that would provide the experience of African Americans involved in the Jewish Holocaust include:
- Black Germany: The Making and Unmaking of a Disapora Community 1884-1960
- Hitler’s Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi-Era
- Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Memory in the Third Reich
- Black German: An Afro-German Life in the Twentieth Century
Utilizing curriculum materials regarding African Americans and the Jewish Holocaust is a perfect segway to incorporating the holocaust experiences of African Americans. One such resource is the Americas Black Holocaust Museum.
The Americas Black Holocaust Museum was founded in 1988 by Dr. James Cameron. The museum has seven History Galleries and a Special Exhibits Gallery. The History Galleries detail in chronological order life in Africa before captivity to African American life today. The Special Exhibits Gallery includes a memorial to victims of lynching, the freedom Lovers Roll Call Wall, an art exhibit as well as featured exhibits.
In short, incorporating the holocaust experiences of African Americans into Jewish Holocaust experiences will help New Jersey schools to meet the requirements of the Amistad law.
Presently, there are a little less than 202,000 Black students in New Jersey. Most students do not have the legal resources to represent themselves. Therefore, each person that signs this petition is helping to represent one of the New Jersey Black students.
Join me in showing the New Jersey Department of Education the need to transform their Jewish Holocaust curriculum to meet the Amistad Law. Please sign the petition today and encourage your friends to do the same.