- The Breakdown
- Black history is more than just February
Black history is more than just February
AP African American Studies at Crenshaw high school fills gaps
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by Jackson Tammariello
Dr. Donald Singleton calls on Dorsey High School senior, Sincere Smith to answer a question posed to his AP African American Studies class on Feb. 9. Dorsey is the only high school in California to offer this advanced placement class that has been under attack in other states. (Richard H. Grant/AfroLA)
What is AP African American Studies?
The College Board, the group that runs the SAT test and Advanced Placement program, began the rollout of their new AP African American Studies course last fall. AP African American Studies is just as rigorous and time-intensive as the other 35 AP classes. The extensive curriculum begins with the origins of the African Diaspora, followed by the history of the enslavement of Africans and the Transatlantic slave trade. The final units cover Black resistance, from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and beyond. Topics including Black migration, achievements in science, medicine and technology, diversity within the Black community, and Afrofuturism are covered.
Wait, didn't Florida ban this class...?
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that topics in the new AP course are pushing an agenda and violates new legislation commonly referred to as the “Stop WOKE Act.” The Florida Department of Education rejected the course, and said in a letter to the College Board that the material “significantly lacks educational value.”
The College Board published a revised framework of the pilot program on Feb. 1. Just 10 days later, they backtracked and said that they “deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander. We should have made clear that the framework is only the outline of the course.”
So, what's the L.A. connection?
Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Crenshaw is the only public high school in California to offer AP African American Studies. Dr. Donald Singleton, an instructor at Dorsey High for 26 years, has taught African American history and AP classes numerous times. Singleton actually traveled the country explaining the importance of Advanced Placement classes to policymakers as an AP Advocate. When the College Board contacted him in November 2021 to ask if he would be interested in teaching a pilot course for their newest class, he enthusiastically accepted.
Why is it important to teach AP African American Studies?
Singleton said that many of his students feel that they've never had an opportunity to be honored for who they are and have always had to conform with another standard in order to succeed.
Gianna Reynolds, a senior in Singleton's class said it best: “The idea that we shouldn’t learn, or we shouldn’t want to learn, and it doesn’t mean anything to learn about [African American history] is just furthering the idea that Black people are ignorant and don’t need to learn about their history.”
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by Ethan Ward
Matching unhoused roommates? There's an app for that.
Why we haven't used technology more to help connect unhoused people to crucial resources that could help them find reliable housing. Right now, unhoused people must rely on homelessness service providers while wading through layers of bureaucracy. Tech-powered solutions, from organizations like LA Family Housing, are empowering unhoused Angelenos to find living situations that fit them best, without the middleman.
A resident of an encampment in Hollywood keeps thier smartphone around their neck on Sept. 28, 2022. (Credit: Ethan Ward)
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