By Mr. Israel- African Studies Teacher
African Studies II focused on society after the Civil War to the present-day with specific emphasis on the experiences of African Americans. Throughout the year, students read contemporary literature that integrated the facts, figures, and events with the experiences of people. In this way, history is told and understood through the stories of the people whose lives were transformed by a system that sees them as objects.
While learning about Reconstruction and Jim Crow, students read Crow by Barbara Wright. The inquiry unit about the Civil Rights movement was fleshed out by the reading of The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon.
The last trimester brought students into the 21st Century and to the crossroads of current events and the same struggles America has faced since Reconstruction as we work to live up to the promises of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Reading and discussing Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, provided students with the background knowledge that enables them to analyze and interpret events they see today. Because Stamped is considered to contain divisive content, students wrote an opinion essay to defend their stance on banning the book, a policy that affects young people. The exhibit the students curated as their final assessment gave students a voice to be heard by the school community as they shared what they discovered about the history of racism, the effects of racist policies, and where individuals fall on the spectrum between racists and antiracists.