Dulaney welcomes a new AP course

March 29, 2023

Maria Bellios

Overview and insights into the course

An Advanced Placement (AP) African American studies course created by College Board is being tested in select schools around the nation. Students receive an introduction to the experience of African Americans through the humanities, political science and geographic studies.

Students will be allowed to take AP African American studies starting in 2023, yet not every high school is open to adding the course to its curriculum. In order to comply with his “Stop W.O.K.E. Act”, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated his desire to forbid Florida schools from offering AP African American studies. The “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” prohibits the teaching of critical race theory in primary and secondary institutions. People like DeSantis are responsible for the curriculum’s many modifications including the removal of critical race theory, and making the study of the Black Lives Matter movement optional. 

For the 2023-2024 school year, Dulaney High School will be offering the course for anyone who is interested. The course will be taught by Lynda Motiram, a fourth year social studies teacher at Dulaney who is ecstatic to start teaching it.

She said, “African American (AA) history has always been an interest of mine. When I taught in Anne Arundel County there was always an AA history class running and I saw that it was a social study elective in Baltimore County.” 

The course helps students understand and learn to value diversity, a crucial component in today’s society, by teaching them about the experiences and contributions of African Americans throughout history. Motiram also believes that African American history is inspiring. 

Motiram said, “Resistance to slavery, insistence on personhood and raising a family under such difficult conditions, the many contributions that African Americans gave to the United States, the continued belief that America could and must live up to its ideals… African Americans have done much to forge a more perfect union.” 

Motiram hopes students find the course to be interesting and helpful in building writing and critical thinking skills that will allow them to succeed in advanced curriculums. 

“Just about every aspect of American life is strongly influenced by the contributions of African Americans…A close focus on one aspect of the American story lets us see history up close – rich, complex and nuanced. I hope the students come away with new insights and knowledge,” Motriam said, explaining the overall advantages to those who take the course.


The main themes of the course outlined by the College Board:

  •  African-American culture is diverse and dynamic, with evolving identities
  • Social constructs of race are of continuing significance to African Americans
  • African Americans have confronted, and continue to confront discrimination, prejudice, and injustice
  •  African Americans have struggled, and continue to strive, for equal opportunity, African American History and American History are inseparable. 


The units include:

  • Africa Before the Atlantic Slave Trade (1450-1600)
  • From Colonial America to Antebellum America (1600-1860)
  •  Civil War & Reconstruction (1861-1900)
  •  Segregation & Migration (1900-1945)
  • Civil Rights Era & the Modern Age (1946-Present)
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Black student voices on the new AP African American History course

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!

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