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Kinsey Art Collection Open To San Diego Teachers For Black History Month—And Beyond

Video by Megan Burks

Schoolchildren throughout San Diego County will get lessons on African-American history this month. But many believe those lessons are too narrow, including former Xerox CEO Bernard Kinsey. He paid local educators a visit Friday to share his vision for a more comprehensive curriculum.

"All of the contributions of African-Americans in building America — they basically built America — have really not been documented and spoken to," Kinsey said. "So what we try to do in The Kinsey Collection is put those stories front and center."

The Kinsey Collection is made up of 500 years worth of art and artifacts that tell the story of African-American achievement. Kinsey wants teachers to use the collection to deepen their curriculum on black history.

By Megan Burks

Bernard Kinsey is pictured, Feb. 3, 2017.

The San Diego County Office of Education's Achievement Gap Taskforce invited Kinsey to Cal State San Marcos to speak and brainstorm with local teachers.

One of them was Valentina Mills. She teaches history in one of the office's Momentum Learning schools, which serve youth who are on probation. After the talk, she said she plans to focus more on the role of African-American women.

"I didn't know that there were so many other women, other than Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, the figures that are normally what you cover during the month of February," Mills said.

Her colleague, math and science teacher Martin Walker, said he's going to help his students investigate black history the way Kinsey did.

"I wish that more people can be exposed to it," he said. "It was a great learning experience for me as an adult, and it opened my eyes up to what's out there and what needs to continue to be researched."

The Kinsey Family has opened its digital collection to educators and is developing its own curriculum for California students, with the blessing of state Superintendent Tom Torlakson. A similar curriculum is already in place in Palm Beach, Florida.

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