Curriculums should include local history

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dear Editor,

Growing up, the Civil War was part of a grocery run to Wal-Mart. I used to strain my eyes to get a glimpse of the remains of the railroad that once transported wounded soldiers to Shelby Springs for care.

In school, history seemed to be merely a list of events in other places that happened to other people — until I passed by those bracken-laden bridges on my way to buy a gallon of milk.

Despite Shelby County’s rich involvement in the Civil War, World War II and civil rights, local history is almost completely absent from the curriculum at Shelby County High School. Just as national and world history are keys for citizens to understand the human world, so is local history — only with the added impact of bringing history home.

To fully appreciate history, citizens must understand that it is not found in books or lectures, but that history is part of the lives of people buying gallons of milk.

When history is not remembered, then society can repeat past mistakes. Therefore, I am personally asking the SCHS history department to make an effort to include local history in its classrooms.

Even with the strict demands placed on teachers, involving this study is simple.

A brief mention during a relevant topic or a daily fact posted on a bulletin board are two of the easiest solutions. Local history should not be overlooked, since it plays such a vital role in building citizenship.

Laurel Cousins