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Issue of race has a place in the classroom | READER COMMENTARY

Holabird Academy sixth grader Angie Castro, 11 works on a project about who she feels deserves a monument, while teacher Sidney Thomas gives additional instruction Tue., Sept. 24, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun).
Holabird Academy sixth grader Angie Castro, 11 works on a project about who she feels deserves a monument, while teacher Sidney Thomas gives additional instruction Tue., Sept. 24, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun). (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Thank you for printing Sidney Thomas’s recent commentary, “We discuss race in my classroom because my students want to” (Nov. 19). So much of what the Holabird Academy teacher wrote struck a chord with me. Although I majored in U.S. history in college, it was not until I was in my 70s that I learned about the internal slave trade and the coffles of slaves that were walked from states like Maryland to the sugar cane and cotton plantations of the Deep South.

Like Ms. Thomas’ middle school students, I asked: “Why didn’t I learn all of this before?” Oh, how I wish I had had teachers who included in the content of my courses “the unsettling parts” of our history and made their classrooms a “space to talk” about those issues.

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We are all lucky to have teachers like Sidney Thomas who work to build independent, critical thinkers in their classrooms. Of course, I am certainly not your only reader who realized that if she were teaching in some school districts in our country today, instead of being named Baltimore’s “Teacher of the Year,” she would probably have had her job terminated.

Jacqueline Hedberg, Baltimore

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