U of U dean on Black History Month: ‘You are responsible for making sure that children understand their history and their culture’

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Meet Martell Teasley, Dean and Professor of the College of Social Work at the University of Utah.

Teasley has done extensive research on African American Adolescent Development throughout his career and shared his thoughts of the power and importance of Black History Month.

He says Black History Month is a perfect time of year to focus on history education within Utah’s schools and gives a few notes of encouragement saying “don’t be afraid to take charge of the process.” 

“You are responsible for making sure that children understand their history and their culture,”  Teasley says. 

He says part of knowing your culture is left up to the schools but advises not leaving it to happenstance. 

“Parents have the talent of making sure their children are appropriately socialized and understand who they are before they send them out to the world…and that’s a personal responsibility that all people have.” 

He says Black History Month is a time for education to explore the facts and contributions African Americans have made throughout history. 

“It’s a time we say to the country who we are—what our contribution has been there and so we need to make sure we study that period particularly in terms of understanding what black people did…their achievements–their heroes, and sheroes.” 

Teasley’s advised everyone, minority or not, adults and children to listen to others. He encourages Utahns to look at community groups through their lens and says to always try and get to know your neighbor. He says if we can learn to do that “we would be a better state…a better nation.” 

 He says taking time from February 1st to February 29th to study black history we will help us become better people. 

“Black History is a very important time…again it’s a time when we reaffirm our contributions to the United States. While I really am concerned about how children are educated in school and how they get their history, I think Black History Month is that one time in the year when we all get a good dose of what’s going on and what African American contributions have been to the development of the United States and the American Republic.”

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