The Advanced Placement African American Studies course, designed by the non-profit College Board, has stirred controversy and political pushback, as it delves into the history of the Black experience in the United States. The class, initiated in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd, covers topics from African kingdoms to slavery and the civil rights movement, with plans to make it available nationwide next year, already being piloted in over 700 U.S. high schools.
Despite offering students the opportunity to earn college credit, Republican leaders in some states have criticized the course, with Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis branding it as "indoctrination" and banning it, while Arkansas no longer counts it toward graduation credit.
However, students in the class assert that it's not about political indoctrination but about providing essential historical knowledge. Some believe it empowers them by offering a broader perspective on Black history, moving beyond narratives of victimization.
"This isn't a political class. This isn't like choosing sides. It's history that everybody should know," junior Rosselyn Reyes told CBS News.
Critics argue that the course's curriculum has been sanitized amid political pressure, with content on systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and reparations being removed. This includes Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent Alberto Carvalho who believes the curriculum is being watered down.
"If you want to really learn about the history of the African American experience, you cannot leave out or sanitize slavery or the civil rights movements, or the fact that our nation has criminalized activities resulting in disproportionate numbers of people of color being imprisoned," Carvalho said.
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Link: CBS News