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Lauren Wanveer

Growing up in Virginia in the 1980s I was told most slave owners were benevolent and slaves were well cared for. As a college freshmen, I was shocked to learn in a US history class that the enslaved people were known to eat dirt and clay because they were starving. I came to major in history and after I took an African American history class I was hooked for life! I felt I had opened a treasure chest of all the secret information that had been held from me before. I am now a professor of history and my main area of specialty is African American history. As a white person (though technically 1/4) I tell this story whenever I teach African American history classes to emphasize how important it is that we tell this history correctly from the beginning of a child’s education. You should not have to get to college or major in history to hear the blunt, horrible truths. Also, African American kids need to know how amazing their ancestors were and they need to see themselves reflected in this country’s story.