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Using Slavery Based Material in the High School Classroom

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Slavery has been a controversial topic since the early nineteenth century and continues to be a touchy subject today. This problem is only exacerbated once children and their education become involved. There has been debate whether novels and similar material depicting slavery is acceptable in the high school curriculum. People are often most opinionated and stubborn with their views in regards to race and discrimination. As a result little progress has been made on the topic. People’s views range from either extreme on the spectrum. Some support an all-out ban on books depicting slavery and discrimination in an effort to shut out the past. Others fully support the use of the book as a learning tool for the future. Most people would agree that the latter group have a more rational approach. I am one of those people that believe literary works such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Twelve Years a Slave are necessary material for the high school English curriculum because they bring attention to an important part of American history which is commonly shunned by society and they are some of the most important books in American literature and students deserve to decide for themselves whether they accept them or not.
The slave era was one of the darkest parts of American history. Because slavery was so damaging to an entire race and contributed to further racism which persists to the modern day, many people try their best to shun that entire time period and by doing so they think that they are protecting their children from the hate and damaging effects of discrimination. However, in reality it is impossible to ignore history. The article “Forgetting Slavery” says:
It’s vitally important that Ame...

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...466-70. Print.

“Finding Jim Behind the Mask: The Revelation of African American Humanity in Mark Twain’s
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Fgcu.edu. n.p. 13 Jan. 1998. Web. 4 Jan. 2014.

“Forgetting Slavery.” The American Prospect. n.p. 13 Apr. 2011. Web. 4 Jan. 2014.

Peaches, Henry. “The Struggle for Tolerance: Race and Censorship in Huckleberry Finn.”
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. eds. Gerald Graff, James Phelan. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martin’s, 2004. 382- 404. Print.

Smiley, Jane. “Say It Ain’t So, Huck: Second Thoughts on ‘Mark Twain’s Masterpiece.”
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. eds. Gerald Graff, James Phelan. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. 456-66. Print.

Stowe, Harriet B. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics,
2003. Print.

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s,
2004. Print.
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