Black Iowa professor, musician: 'If it were left up to my schools, I would have never learned the truth of my history'

Black Iowans discuss the importance of teaching Black History, voting rights and more during Black History Month.

Celebrating Black History Month: Black Iowa News invited Black Iowans to share their feelings about the importance of teaching Black history, voting rights and more — in their own words. Here's the next installment from John-Paul Jones, the descendant of a Civil War veteran who was formerly enslaved, is the "first and only" Black professor at Indian Hills Community College, where he is a professor of electrical and renewable energy technology. Jones is also the bandleader of the John-Paul Jones Group, a heavy blues band, among other accomplishments. Check back Monday for the next installment. Want to share your views? Learn how below.

The Importance of Teaching Black History

John-Paul “Jp” Jones, John-Paul Jones Group, heavy blues band, Ottumwa

John-Paul Jones, leader of the award-winning band, the John-Paul Jones Group. Photo courtesy of Jones.

I grew up in the Southeastern part of the state in the Chariton Valley/Lake Rathbun area.

If it were left up to my schools, I would have never learned the truth of my history.

Now what was not missing was the fact that much of what I could learn was contained in my public library and school library. Even if it was not in the curriculum, I could still get access. The curriculum was minimalistic when teaching Black history.

I believe and know that Black history is actually just American history.

Read: Black History Month reflections by Black Iowans

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Share your opinion with Black Iowa News for Black History Month

To celebrate Black History Month, Black Iowa News will publish short original quotes from Black Iowans on the topics of Black history and voting rights. Here's your chance to speak up about issues you care about. Share your thoughts on Black history, voting rights or something else by emailing your quote, city, short bio and photo to Dana James, founder of Black Iowa News:

Banner: Black History Month art by Christopher Harrison, of Harrison Art Studio.

"Masquerade 13" by Christopher Harrison, visual artist.

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