New AP African American Studies course features Kaepernick protest, reparations discussion

High school students will now learn about Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests, the Black feminist movement and Tulsa Race Massacre in the Advanced Placement African American Studies course.

The College Board unveiled new framework for the class Wednesday, which will launch during the 2024-25 school year.

Students will learn how Kaepernick’s kneeling brought police brutality “into the national spotlight,” inspiring athletes in other sports to follow.

They will also understand Black women’s “unique experiences of racism and sexism” in relation to the Black feminist movement and study African Americans’ defiance of white supremacist attacks through armed self-defense and political activism.

The College Board encourages students to spend a week discussing controversial topics like reparations, the prison industrial complex and racial discrimination.

CEO David Coleman claims the curriculum emphasizes topics students care about.

“AP African American Studies has demonstrated its power to draw so many students into their first college-level coursework—by focusing on what fascinates young people we can bring so many new students into the path to college success,” Coleman said.

Students will also examine resistance and resilience, reviewing examples like counteracting slavery, forming businesses advocating for women’s rights and organizing movements to preserve Black history and traditions. The intersectionality of a Black person’s identity is also a curriculum theme.

Harvard University professor Jarvis R. Givens argues the class introduces students to new language and conceptual tools for analyzing the subjects.

“It takes seriously the longstanding Black intellectual tradition and, importantly, the diversity of thinking within that tradition,” Givens said.

READ MORE | AP course gets overhaul after DeSantis rejection for pushing ‘queer theory’ on students

Other major topics teachers will cover include Black communities’ creativity, expression and arts, as well as the dispersion of African communities and the evolution of Black society in the United States.

Dr. Brandi Waters, senior director of the African American Studies program, says the class offers a “broader prospective” of the curriculum.

It invites students to develop analytical skills while examining African Americans’ wide-ranging experiences, contributions, and creativity, and the impact of the broader African diaspora on the world we live in,” Waters said.

Approximately 300 experts, scholars and high school teachers worked on the course for the past three years. The College Board originally rolled out the curriculum in February to the protest of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who claimed it pushed an agenda.

That’s political activism,” DeSantis claimed on the Charlie Kirk Show earlier this year. “If that’s what you want to do on your own time, it’s a free country. But we’re not going to use tax dollars in the state of Florida to put that into our schools because it’s not trying to educate kids, it’s trying to impose an agenda on kids.”

Florida state Rep. Ashley Gantt believes the College Board lost its academic integrity with the new course subjects.

“Such a shame and disgrace that scholars allowed ideological bullies to prevail,” Rep. Gantt said. “They are the ones pushing an agenda and you helped them along. Shameful.”

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