Rodney D. Pierce, a seventh-grade social studies and world history teacher at Red Oak Middle School in Nash-Rocky Mount Schools, was recently elected to a three-year term on the North Carolina Council for the Social Studies Board of Directors.
Pierce had previously served an honorary one-year term on the board as he was the 2019 NCCSS Teacher of the Year.
According to its website, board members “guide the direction of the NCCSS and are part of the decision-making process, attend regular meetings as scheduled, participate in committees, and attend and assist with the state NCCSS Conference in February or March.”
Pierce also presented at this year’s conference – the organization’s 50th annual convening – which was held February 20-21 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
His presentation, ‘Making the Case For Reparations,’ focused on the United States government making redress “for African-Americans who descend from chattel slavery in the United States.” In addition to how much wealth the nation accumulated through slavery that fueled its system of capitalism, primarily through the crop of cotton, the presentation covered Jim Crow – a 100-year period (1865-1965) where laws passed and enforced in southern and border states effectively made African-Americans second-class citizens and the subjects of racial terrorism — more than 4,000 documented lynchings between 1877 to 1950 — mass incarceration, medical apartheid, land ownership, housing — homelessness, racial covenants, redlining, gentrification — and the racial wealth gap.
Pierce first presented at the NCCSS Conference in 2018 as part of a five-member panel representing institutions from UNC-Chapel Hill.
One of the attendees of this year’s presentation was Jason Stroud, a PhD and the supervisor of social studies in Guilford County Schools, whose own research and writing focuses on North Carolina, including race and slavery, in the Revolutionary Era and the Early Republic. “Using hard data and drawing on more than 30 years of historiography, Mr. Pierce laid out a detailed, balanced, and ultimately very persuasive case for reparations for American descendants of slavery,” said Stroud, who taught history at Roanoke Rapids High School from 1999 to 2008. “No one who attended his talk could avoid grappling with its conclusions.”
Earlier this month, Pierce was named to a one-year term on the Talent Delayed/Talent Denied Advisory Committee for the NC Association for Gifted and Talented to devise strategies to increase access to academically and intellectually gifted services for low-income and minority students in the state.