African American history course to be launched at numerous school divisions across the Commonwealth

Local News

Copyright: Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – Governor Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that students in 16 school divisions across Virginia will be able to increase their understanding of African American history by participating in a new high school-level elective course during this new academic year.

Earlier this week, Governor Northam directed the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to collaborate with Virtual Virginia, WHRO Public Media, and communities of history teachers, historians and history professors to develop a new African American history course for high school students.

The full-credit course, which is now complete, surveys African American history from precolonial Africa through today which introduces students to key concepts in African American history, from early beginnings in Africa through the transatlantic slave trade, the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights era and into the present.

The following school divisions from across Virginia will be offering this course:

  • Alleghany County
  • Amherst County
  • Arlington County
  • Carroll County
  • Charlottesville
  • Chesterfield County
  • Covington
  • Franklin County
  • Henrico County
  • Henry County
  • Loudoun County
  • Norfolk
  • Portsmouth
  • Prince William County
  • Suffolk
  • Winchester

Students will be expected to perform the following throughout the duration of the course:

  • Identify and understand the African origins and developments of the Black experience in North America;
  • Evaluate how African Americans have shaped, contributed, and have been shaped by the institutions, policies, and laws established by federal, state, and local governments;
  • Evaluate and interpret the various paths of civic responsibility that led to quests for equality, justice, and freedom for individuals and communities facing barriers and oppression based on race, class, and gender; and
  • Analyze and understand how the institution of slavery in the United States shaped beliefs about race and the supremacy of one race over another and influenced America’s economy and politics.

“Black history is American history, but for too long, the story we have told was insufficient and inadequate. The introduction of this groundbreaking course is a first step toward our shared goal of ensuring all Virginia students have a fuller, more accurate understanding of our history, and can draw important connections from those past events to our present day.”

Governor Ralph Northam

The course also includes a capstone project that requires students to conduct independent research on a question or problem of their choosing and to demonstrate a deeper understanding of African American history.

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