Tulsa students refusing to learn history

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Reported by: MirandaChristian
Updated: 4/04/2013 9:15 am Published: 4/03/2013 10:29 pm

Tulsa Public School's flagship school is in jeopardy of losing part of its history.

Some students at Booker T. Washington High School have refused to enroll in an African American studies class.

Dr. Anthony Marshall doesn’t have a shortage of passion in his classroom. Instead, there’s a shortage of students.

Dr. Marshall showed FOX23 an enrollment sheet. Going down the line, his African American studies course has some of the smallest classes.

He's known for challenging students and demanding participation.

Fewer students are enrolling in his class. Next semester, Dr. Marshall will only teach one class for African American studies. He doesn't know what to expect after that.

"I refuse to lower my expectations in any class," said Dr. Marshall.

But that's what some students are demanding.

"They say ‘Dr. Marshall is just wasting his time, or that this class is not really worth anything," said student Camery Asberry.

Asberry said classmates are being lazy. They don't care to hear about the 1921 race riots, or even the Good Friday shootings.

"This is an elective, and we shouldn't have to do this much work," said Dr. Marshall.

Dr. Marshall graduated from Booker. T. He came back to teach in 2004. Marshall remembers his school, TPS's flagship school, being the first to integrate in the 1970s.

"They need to know and understand it," said Dr. Marshall.

History motivates him. If he loses his class, he'll still teach advanced placement courses.

Years ago, when students wanted the curriculum, he wouldn't have been able to offer it. Now that he can, many don't want it.

"I firmly believe those ignorant of their past are destined to relive it," said Dr. Marshall.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

AdamBrimer - 4/5/2013 3:39 PM
1 Vote
I am a senior at Booker T. and a second-generation Hornet and I would like to make it very clear that the assertion that my peers “refusing” to learn history is absolutely preposterous. Although I have never taken a class from Dr. Marshall, I have taken several challenging history classes which have all, in some context, addressed African American struggles, achievements, and overall contributions to history. It is for this reason that Dr. Marshall’s concerns come as such a surprise to me. Dr. Marshall has built a reputation at Booker T. as someone who possesses a sort of aggressive, somewhat overbearing, passion for African American history and culture, specifically relating to African American hardship. I believe that Dr. Marshall’s concerns stem from his personal emphasis on African American history and undermine not only the history program at Washington but the vibrant African American cultural awareness that my school promotes. As a white student, one of my favorite aspects of Booker T. has been the exposure I have gotten to African American culture and history that I would not have found at any other school. This is because Booker T. has such a prominent, proud history that is closely tied with African American history. I challenge the claim that anyone at Booker T. is refusing to learn this significant history. Enrollment decline in Dr. Marshall’s history class is not a fair representation of the state of Booker T.’s history program or the school’s emphasis on African American history and culture.

gettingby - 4/5/2013 6:34 AM
0 Votes
Students who are lazy are condemned to be stupid and lord knows know 'stupid'is pandemic. How about spending some time with a paint brush and a shovel cleaning up the neighborhoods that feed kids to the school.

Anonnnnn22 - 4/4/2013 6:00 PM
0 Votes
Maybe if dr.marshall wasn't one of the rudest and most racists teachers at booker t people would actually want to take his class, it's not the class students don't like its the teacher.

lakia - 4/4/2013 1:04 PM
1 Vote
Well whitwhit I DON'T agree with you. i am Polish American but I simply call my self American. Gladys was spot on. All this dwelling on what is OVER gives people an excuse to feel entitled and angry. Learn it, don't dwell on it. Accentuate the positive, move on. And I REFUSE to use the derogatory term African American.

Unwashed Mass - 4/4/2013 12:18 PM
0 Votes
Is it time for integration?

pirate - 4/4/2013 9:32 AM
1 Vote
If the AA's are getting tired of hearing about "THEIR" history, immagine how the rest of us fill. There's a lot of things that happened in the past of other groups but, you don't hear us bringing them to light every time someone is killed, beaten or arrested. A lot of GOOd things have happened to all and that is what should be taught. You turn the TV on, nothing but bad things, what do you do, turn it off. That's what todays youth are doing. They don't want to hear it, as sad as it is, so we should focus on the better things in life. Everyone starts out, now a days, as the same group in school......what path "YOU" take is up to you, others can only help you along.

AW777 - 4/4/2013 8:59 AM
0 Votes
As a former student of Dr. Marshall's history class at BTW it hurts me to see this about the students. His class was taught at a high level and we were held to a higher standard. Dr. Marshall taught beyond then what was expected from everyone else. Giving lessons not just from slavery and the race riots, but to the great achievements of African-Americans. He just wanted to enlighten us on our history and where we come from. His course is great and I hope the students at BTW take advantage of it while they can. - Proud BTW Alum

cptspacecase - 4/4/2013 6:17 AM
2 Votes
it shouldn't be a class all by itself. it should be covered in regular history classes. as a white male growing up I was forced to attend not just one but two indian history classes. I felt angry over having to attend them as I was only one of four non-indian tudents in my whole grade. I was the one on the receiving end of racism from m classmates from the 3rd grade on. I did end up enjoying he class due to the teacher expanding my food horizons but it all could have been done n regular history classes. yes those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it but so also those who cant let go of the anger are doomed to relive it every day and pass the hate onward to the next generation.

whitwhit23 - 4/4/2013 2:31 AM
1 Vote
Gladys you need to educate yourself before you post stuff like this. Before there was a positive in black history the negative came first. From the struggle of slavery to the celebration of freedom its all important to learn so the past doesn't repeat its self. I took a African American Studies class in college and it really helped me understand my history a lot better. In public school black history in american history classes are so brief because they only focus on Whites, war and government . The reason why we are referred as african american is because we originated from Africa and its part of our identity. All history is important and shame on you for this post. Lots of people will agree with me and suggest you take a class or two.

gladys - 4/3/2013 11:46 PM
4 Votes
Perhaps if he taught something other than negative black history his students would like his class, kids are tired of hearing about the struggles of the slaves, the marches with Dr. King,put a positive spin on it, tell them about the Supreme Court Justices, Scientists, Congressmen, great inventors and Senators in the early years of America who were black, no one ever tells these kids that a lot of black men fought beside George Washington, were decorated Revolutionary heros and are in the paintings standing right beside Washington which painted during that period, they never tell the kids about the hugh number of Judges, lawmakers and such in our early history who were black, kids just think it has all been the blacks being crapped on forever, and that isn't true, why would kids find that stimulating and interesting, they probably hear enough of that at home. How about letting them know there were more than just the slaves of the whites, how about letting them know their ancestors helped build this country, fight for this country and are as much a part of this country as anyone else, how about these kids finally stop hyphenating their race...instead of African-American, how about letting them finally claim the single title....AMERICANS?
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