Earlier this year, about five dozen educators attended a four-day seminar at Howard University to discuss course concepts and best teaching practices.
During the summit, Howard officials maintained their desire to attract Black and Latinx high school teachers to an Advanced Placement Summer Institute that would help increase diversity among AP teachers.
And with school districts around the nation under heavy scrutiny with laws prohibiting teaching students about Black history — or anything that purportedly would make conservative white America uncomfortable — some have refused to relent.
Now, 60 schools around the country have agreed to participate in a pilot program for AP African American Studies.
On Monday, the Brooklyn Preparatory High School in New York announced it had joined the fray.
With a large Black and Hispanic student body, Brooklyn Prep officials and students alike have expressed excitement.
“A lot of our history classes, we learn about white history like Europeans, like colonization, and a lot of things like that,” 17-year-old Amirah Riddick, one of the students who advocated for the course at Brooklyn Prep, told NBC News in New York.
“It’s a game changer, and I feel like us being mostly Hispanic, mostly African American students, mostly Caribbean students, we don’t get to learn much about our cultures and how we were thriving. We learn more about how we were confined like in slavery and how we were treated.”
The AP African American Studies course would consist of an introduction to African American history comprised of units that span the 16th century to the present day.
Students could expect to learn the vast history that begins with the rich legacy of African kingdoms, the Atlantic slave trade, resistance, and triumph in America, to the onward movement of resilience in today’s civil rights era.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the AP program, which the College Board oversees, allows high school students to take college-level classes, which could count for credit at higher education institutions. Around 70 percent of high schools in the United States offer at least one AP course.
“AP African American Studies is not CRT,” historian Henry Louis “Skip,” Gates told Time. “It’s not the 1619 Project. It is a mainstream, rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study, one half a century old in the American academy, and much older, of course, in historically Black colleges and universities.”