MISD Offers African American Studies

Destinee Turner , Staff Writer

From slavery and the underground railroad to the Black Panthers and protests of the 60s, these topics are covered in African American Studies, a class now offered throughout the district.

“We know about what cisgender, white people did,” senior Erin Allen said. “It’s literally what our history class has always been (about). We never learn about how these minorities did these things and there are still people part of marginalized groups at our school.”

The semester-long course is taught by Murray Sombrio.

“I hope to teach proper historical perspective on a topic that can sometimes be overtaken by emotional and preconceived ideas,” he said. “I want to be sure we have correct understanding of this history and the richness and value that is in it.”

Through projects, lectures and group discussions, students learn the history of African Americans from the time of ancient Africa to the present

“My favorite part would be that we can have open discussions and the teacher is learning himself,” sophomore Amir Gilimore said. “We teach each other.”

This is one of several new classes added to the course guide, along with Old and New Testament Studies, AP World Studies and AP Seminar.

“It was a district decision, probably to help accommodate to the large African American demographic in the school,” Sombrio said.

Gilmore said she thinks the class gives students a broader understanding of the struggles and achievements of African Americans throughout history.

“When asked what you are and what your culture is, I feel like a lot of African American people really don’t have the answer,” Gilmore said. “A lot of us can’t trace what our history is or where we came from. (The class is) important so we can have a sense of unity. If we can figure out where we’re from or what our past is, it’s easier to come together for our future.”