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Teaching Black History to White People

Teaching Black History to White People

A personally and pedagogically generous book, Teaching Black History to White People outlines how to teach and engage with Black history on college campuses and beyond.

September 2021
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184 pages | 5 x 8 |

Leonard Moore has been teaching Black history for twenty-five years, mostly to white people. Drawing on decades of experience in the classroom and on college campuses throughout the South, as well as on his own personal history, Moore illustrates how an understanding of Black history is necessary for everyone.

With Teaching Black History to White People, which is “part memoir, part Black history, part pedagogy, and part how-to guide,” Moore delivers an accessible and engaging primer on the Black experience in America. He poses provocative questions, such as “Why is the teaching of Black history so controversial?” and “What came first: slavery or racism?” These questions don’t have easy answers, and Moore insists that embracing discomfort is necessary for engaging in open and honest conversations about race. Moore includes a syllabus and other tools for actionable steps that white people can take to move beyond performative justice and toward racial reparations, healing, and reconciliation.

  • Introduction
  • Teaching White Students about Blackness
  • Teaching Myself
  • Teaching Black Anger
  • Teaching Enslavement and Emancipation
  • Teaching Jim Crow
  • Teaching Black Urbanization
  • Teaching the Civil Rights Movement
  • Teaching Black Power
  • Teaching White Liberals
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendix: Syllabus for History of the Black Experience
  • Suggested Reading
  • Index

Leonard Moore is the George Littlefield Professor of American History at the University of Texas at Austin and a graduate of Jackson State University. He is the author of three books on Black politics, the most recent being The Defeat of Black Power: Civil Rights and the National Black Political Convention of 1972.



“Magnificent. This book is a gift. Teaching Black History to White People is an urgently needed practical guide to meeting this national moment of racial and political reckoning with pedagogical erudition and intellectual sophistication. Leonard Moore is one of America’s finest historians of Black history and this book should be read by all people interested in transforming the rhetoric of antiracism into practical reality.”
Peniel E. Joseph, author of Stokely: A Life

Teaching Black History to White People, with its elucidating vignettes, is at once hilarious, terrifying, and insightful. Now is the time for such a book—as the nation confronts domestic conflicts, people are searching for something that makes sense, and Moore obliges them with his matter-of-fact style and engaging stories.”
Stefan Bradley, Loyola Marymount, author of Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League

“I highly recommend this book to any instructor who appreciates the fact that a full understanding of American history is key to a just society. Each year, hundreds of University of Texas at Austin students take a history class with award-winning Leonard Moore, and they find the class to be a life-changing experience. How does Moore reach both Black and non-Black students, and why do they go on to recommend his courses to their friends? In this book, Moore combines stories from his own life with social commentary and discussions of his teaching techniques, honed over two decades in the classroom. He begins the book with this simple observation: Every white person in America should be required to take a Black history class in either high school or college. Period. Moore’s straightforward, no-holds-barred approach—about African American history, about the realities of race in America today—inspires students even as it enlightens them. This practical guide will prove useful for all teachers who want to educate students of all backgrounds and any age in an inclusive, compelling way. A course in Black history, taught with sensitivity and honesty by a knowledgeable instructor, as Moore illustrates here, can generate difficult but necessary conversations that are truly transformative for instructor and student alike.”
Jacqueline Jones, author of A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America

“Dr. Leonard Moore has been teaching Black history memorably to university students for over twenty-five years, using storytelling, humor, and provocation to illuminate the Black experience. But it's his white students who find it the most eye-opening, and often, life changing. In his incisive and highly readable book, Teaching Black History to White People, Dr. Moore reveals why it's vital for every American--especially whites--to understand Black history, why color matters, and what it is to walk in someone else's shoes.”
Mark K. Updegrove, President & CEO of the LBJ Foundation and author of Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency

Teaching Black History to White People is a blast of fresh thought to stale conversations about race. Moore’s sharp, direct style reframes old dialogues and slices to the heart of difficult challenges. Sometimes this book made me laugh out loud; other times I was encouraged by Moore’s accomplishments or angered by how he has been treated. For anyone seeking to break down resistance to the true history of our nation, this book is an absolute gem.”
Jesse Washington, Senior Writer at's The Undeafeated and co-author of I Came as a Shadow, the autobiography of John Thompson

“I watched Dr. Leonard Moore masterfully teach Black history when he was my professor at Louisiana State University. As a young, Black college student, I was inspired by his boldness, passion, and commitment to speaking truth to power. His teaching methods provided a platform that encouraged meaningful dialogue and critical thinking. Everyone grew wiser and more equipped to appreciate Black history as a result.”
David "Dee-1" Augustine, former student, rapper and social activist

“If you care about the future of race relations in the United States, you need to read this book. Dr. Moore provides a valuable starting point for anyone interested in learning more about the Black experience. He is also a gifted author who weaves his personal story into the larger context of American history to help cement his key point: you cannot understand the perspective of Black people in this country without learning their history, most of which has been left untold in our classrooms.”
Joe Karlgaard, Director of Athletics, Rice University

Teaching Black History to White People is essential for any institution seeking to create or enhance an inclusive environment. Whether Dr. Moore's message is applied to the workplace or to one's personal life, its authenticity and intent won't be missed by anyone. Why? Because Black History Matters.”
Sevetri Wilson, Founder and CEO of Resilia

“I am a white male who has worked in the advertising industry for most of my career. Like those in other industries, we are beginning to understand the ways in which the complexity of white supremacy and unconscious bias affects how we work. Within this context, I believe Dr. Leonard Moore’s book is both seminal and mandatory reading for starting a discourse on understanding the Black experience in our country. I will never truly know what it means to grow up Black in America, nor work as a Black person in America, but Dr. Moore provides the insight to better see, feel, understand, and comprehend this truth—a truth we all must seek to understand if we are to progress as a people.”
Al Reid, Marketing Director, Saatchi & Saatchi, Dallas