Black student voices on the new AP African American History course

Zoe Kazanzides, Staff Writer

The official framework for the new Advanced Placement (AP) College Board course, AP African American History, was published on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month. The AP African American History course is composed of four units featuring origins of African diaspora, freedom and enslavement, the practice of freedom and movements and debates. The official curriculum has removed discussion of critical race theory, Black Queer studies and the Black Lives Matter Movement, sparking controversy before and after this change. Here is what Dulaney students have to say about it:

When asked how much they knew about the new AP African American History course and how they felt about it, senior Carmen Nicole, President of the Black Student Union, and senior Demetrius Profic admitted to not knowing much about the course when it was first brought up to them. After looking into it more, Profic said he feels ambivalent towards it, while Nicole and Junior Paris Mclee, Secretary of the Black Student Union, expressed support for the course.

Mclee said,  “When I was first registering for new classes, I saw [the new course]…I think it will be really helpful for those who don’t know [African American] history.”

However, Mclee and Nicole expressed dislike for the recent changes in the curriculum for this course. 

Profic said, “especially when teaching a history course, there is no reason to omit certain events, especially if they are significant.”

Due to this controversy surrounding the curriculum, there is discussion on whether there is a way to keep all groups happy and if that should be a goal. Mclee and Nicole both answered that it should.

Nicole adds, “there will be all kinds of students from different backgrounds in that class, not just liberals or conservatives…not just one type of race…it is important to find common ground.” 

On the other hand, Profic said, “I do not think making everyone happy should be the goal…the goal should just be to accurately depict the history. We should not try to skew the facts one way or another to try and make certain groups happy.”

When the students were asked whether they would like to take this course, they all said they would. Mclee says that this course could have been promoted more, especially in history classes at Dulaney. 

Carmen, Mclee and Profic expressed ideas for how this course should be carried out at Dulaney, all agreeing we will need passionate teachers for the course. 

Profic said, “When you go about launching these courses in schools, it is amazing to have diversity in the curriculum…if we had African American teachers teaching the course, that would be more effective and more impactful because they are able to reflect on the coursework they are teaching.”

Profic says he thinks this course is “…a great first step.” He would love to see new AP courses in the future that focus on even more countries.

McLee encourages anyone and everyone to join the Black Student Union, to which Nicole adds, “…[the goal of the Black Student Union] is to enhance people’s knowledge on African American History.” The Black Student Union meets every other Tuesday in room 203 for those who want to learn more. If you are an underclassmen, consider taking the new AP African American History course!