African American history still has no voice at South

The Editorial Board

From European history to Latin American history, South’s Social Studies Department offers many options for classes that immerse students in different cultures and narratives.  However, African American history, which has historically been silenced for centuries, still has no voice at South.

African American history may soon be told in high school classrooms, however, as 60 high schools throughout the nation are testing a new Advanced Placement (AP) course, AP African American Studies, Anemona Hartocollis reported for The New York Times. The course addresses the history, civil rights, literature, cultural traditions, and geography of African Americans.

Currently, the course is in the ‘pilot stage’, where selected schools throughout the country test the class, Hartocollis reported. Following a successful pilot stage this school year, the class will be available in schools nationwide in the 2024-2025 school year, Hartocollis stated.

Student interest in the adoption of the AP African American Studies class at South is abundant; according to a non-scientific survey of 345 students conducted by The Oracle, 39 percent of students would enroll in the class if it was offered at South. 

The AP African American Studies course already has an in-depth curriculum provided by CollegeBoard, making possible implementation of this class at South even easier, Jeannie Logan, Instructional Supervisor of the Social Studies Department, said. 

“The fact that there [is] an external organization (CollegeBoard) that has guidelines and requirements for what would be covered [in the class] is very helpful,” Logan said.

Because of plentiful student interest and resources already provided by College Board, The Oracle Editorial Board urges the administration to consider implementing the AP African American Studies course in the Social Studies Department for the 2024-2025 school year.

This is not the first time the idea of creating an African American history course has been discussed, Logan explained. Black Student Union (BSU) and Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR) produced focus groups attempting to create a space for the course before the pandemic, but ultimately failed, Logan said.

“Our department [has] had conversations about the potential for having a Black history course,” Logan said. “We had student focus [groups] to get [their] input, [but] then the pandemic hit, so [it] was sort of put to the side.” 

In support of the AP African American Studies course, senior Nathaniel Betts, Co-President of Black Student Union, expressed the importance of learning one’s roots and ancestral history.

“It [is] very valuable to learn your own history,” Betts said. “Knowing your own history [creates] an amount of pride and perspective, and an understanding of how you got here.”

The introduction of the AP African American Studies course at South would provide students with the opportunity to fully delve into the origins of Black culture and history, Logan expressed.

“Many students are hungry for the traditional roots of African history, [and] felt like they were missing out on narratives of Black history centered around joy and celebration,” Logan said. “[This] course [would] seamlessly integrate all different Black narratives and stories, [and would be] a wonderful opportunity for a lot of our students.