Loudoun County Public Schools is one of 16 school divisions in the commonwealth that will offer a new high school elective course covering African American history during the 2020-2021 school year, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Aug. 27.
“Black history is American history, but for too long, the story we have told was insufficient and inadequate,” Northam said in a prepared statement. “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.”
The governor a little more than a year ago directed the Virginia Department of Education to develop the new, full-credit course in collaboration with Virtual Virginia and WHRO Public Media, as well as historians, history teachers and professors.
Students taking the elective will follow African American history from precolonial Africa through today, covering the transatlantic slave trade, the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement and the present state of Black culture in America.
In addition, a capstone project will require students to independently research a question or issue of their choice.
Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, a former history teacher, called the new course “long overdue.”
“We can expect young Virginians to understand the enduring impacts of systemic racism only when they fully understand both the oppression experienced by African Americans and their significant contributions to STEM, the arts, education, law, and advocacy,” he said in a prepared statement.
Per the governor’s office, some of the 16 participating school systems plan to implement the course during the fall semester, while others will wait until the spring.
More information on the course is available bit.ly/2EtfkDM.