African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

DeBra Edwards

I remember being one of the first students to integrate Beltsville Elementary in Beltsville, Maryland. I was not in the first class but one of the first groups. I remember the teacher putting me at a desk away from the other students. She couldn’t ignore me long because I was the smartest girl in the first grade! I could read for comprehension. When we discussed the World’s Fair of 1961, I had a lot to offer. My grandmother had taken me there on a Greyhound bus! I learned a life lesson that education was the key. People may not like you but they would always respect an educated person.