Several classes of Central High School students discussed race and history with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon during  his visit to the school’s campus on Thursday.

Blackmon is the author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors in U.S. History and the honors course Facing History and Ourselves participated in the discussion in the school’s auditorium.

Blackmon shared stories from his childhood growing up in a small Mississippi town, attending the area’s first integrated school and the lessons he learned about embracing diversity.

“The people I loved the most in the world were doing and saying things I was taught were wrong,” Blackmon told the students.

When one student asked when did he become a crusader for minority rights, Blackmon shied away from the title.

“I wouldn’t say I was a crusader, but I mostly tried to figure things out for myself and knowing what was right and what was wrong,” he said.

U.S. History teacher Sandra Boyer said Blackmon visited Central High School and Christian Brothers to discuss the issues in his novel on Thursday.

Boyer said the discussion with Blackmon coincides with the curriculum of the district’s Facing History and Ourselves honors class.

“The class focuses on the Holocaust and other genocides and the life lessons we can take away from them,” Boyer said.  “The purpose of the class is to teach students not to hate and be someone who stands up. They have great discussions in that class.”

Contact Tajuana Cheshier at tcheshier@chalkbeat.org and (901) 730-4013.

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