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BEREA, Ky. (FOX 56) – 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The Association for Teaching Black History in Kentucky is using Martin Luther King Day on Monday to help teach educators how to instruct Black history in our schools. The association’s mission is to help elevate the stories of Black Kentuckians both past and present.

They work with teachers across the state to help them think about how they teach Black history by providing resources and opportunities teachers may have when teaching the subject, as well as helping localize it.

Monday, the association is hosting a professional development event helping educators navigate the waters around teaching black history. Executive Director for the association Chaka Cummings said teaching black history in our schools can leave an indelible mark on students.

“It’s incredibly relevant in terms of representation, right,” Cummings said. “And thinking about being a black student in a Kentucky classroom and seeing folks who are from Kentucky who are black like you, who have done incredible things. What I will also say is that this is American history as much as it is any other history.”

Cummings believes that there are opportunities to develop empathy by looking at the experiences of others. He also notes that there is a lot of black history that comes from Kentucky that people may not know about.

Oliver Lewis was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby who was born and raised in Lexington. Garrett Morgan invented the traffic light and is originally from Paris.


Seeing those examples, and many others, will allow students to see themselves in historical figures, and ultimately be inspired by them, in addition to better understanding the information being taught.

“It’s another component of American history,” said Cummings. “So, it becomes a little bit easier to think about some of those comparisons and how do we get our students to draw on some of those so that they feel like they have that personal connection? Because we’re talking about American history, but we’re talking about it through the lens of maybe an American to whom you may relate if you are a Black student.”

Monday’s event will be held at the Boone Tavern Event Center in Berea and simulcasted at the Muhammed Ali Center in Louisville.

The event is free of charge and will include several speakers and workshopping opportunities for teachers.

To sign-up, you can do so here.