NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As a social studies educator at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School, former New Haven alderman Darryl Brackeen Jr. has seen firsthand how history curriculum doesn’t always reflect the community.

He’s hoping to share that history through his book, Almost Forgotten: America’s first Black American Congressmen, which profiles 19 men.

“We are trying to bring students to an understanding of history,” he said. “You kind of want to bring a cultural connection, and for me to raise up the stories of individuals, 19 individuals who had a great impact, while it was a short time period in history, but many of their names have gone unnoticed, stories untold.”

The inspiration from the book comes from his own family history. Brackeen’s ancestor, Dempsey Coates, was the first person to vote after being enslaved.

Watch the full interview in the player above.