Heritage, Volume 11, Number 1, Winter 1993 Page: 16
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Story and Photographs By
Who writes history? How do schools
influence what we learn about our national
history? Who and what is deemed as
historically important and unimportant?
Who decides what our children learn?
These questions have begun to be asked for
the last few years as women and ethnic
minorities begin to challenge what we as
Americans are taught in our academic
settings. We are beginning to rethink how
we have viewed political and social events
of the past and how that shapes how we
deal with issues in the present. The focus
is on multiculturalism. America has always
been a tapestry of races, but it has been
only recently that this notion has been
considered outside of a few radical circles.
As we examine this idea of equal representation
in history, we find that some
groups have long been absent from our
history books. We must find ways to make
history more representative of who we are
as a nation. But this telling of "who we
are"- how do we accomplish this? Our
nation is so vast, so complex, so diverse.
How do we explain all the people, all their
lifeways over hundreds of years in one
textbook a year for 12 years? How can we
make one black child living in urban
America understand what life is like for the
white Appalachian farmer? How can we
explain the effort required to make queso
asadero to a generation of people who
usually eat cheese wrapped in cellophane?
How can we help students recognize the
complexities of regional events and how
they have shaped our national psyche?
As an advocate of multicultural education
and historical preservation, I attempted
to address some of these questions
by coordinating an educational oral
history program in the Lower Valley of El
Paso County at a very dynamic school,
Socorro High School. Our goal was primarily
to create an interracial and intergenerational
approach to studying community
history. By doing this, we also
Right: Socorro High School students gather to
hear the stories of one of their elders as part of a
community history project that stressed an interracial
and intergenerational approach.
A Living History Lesson
16 HERITAGE * WINTER 1993
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 11, Number 1, Winter 1993, periodical, Winter 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45415/m1/16/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.