The College Board Modifies the AP Black History Course

In the US, Advanced Placement (AP) courses can be taken and passed by high school students to obtain college credits. The College Board created the courses, which include a wide range of topics like physics, math, English, and history. The nonprofit organization unveiled a new set of concepts and abilities for its AP African American Studies course this week, dubbed a framework. The most recent iteration was released months after the group faced backlash for talking about course requirements with opponents on the right. More focus has been placed on concepts like the Tulsa Race Massacre, Black culture’s impact on sports and movies, and redlining—a kind of housing discrimination. When the class formally begins at the beginning of the following school year, the most recent version will be utilized.


Earlier this year, the AP African American History course attracted national attention. The course was pushing political themes at the time, so Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—a Republican running for president this year—said he would outlaw it in his state. A list of issues Florida experienced with the pilot, an early iteration of the course, was made public. The College Board published the AP course in its first official form in February. It omitted key topics that were on Florida’s list of concerns, such as reparations for slavery, Black Lives Matter, and several notable Black writers.


Subsequently, the board faced intense criticism for caving in to political pressure. Some of that criticism is taken into consideration in the updated modifications. Several significant Black writers who were left out are included in the most recent edition, along with writings on intersectionality and feminism. The concept of intersectionality postulates that varying degrees of privilege and discrimination in society are produced by the intersections of race, gender, and class.


Not every subject that had been withdrawn earlier has been reinstated by the College Board. The course’s final exam still does not cover the Black Lives Matter movement. It is, however, included in the list of topics that schools could choose to discuss further, along with other instances. Nelva Williams is on the development committee for the course. She has over 40 years of experience as a teacher. Additionally, she instructed an AP African American Studies pilot program in Houston. Rashad Shabazz is an Arizona State University race-related course instructor. According to him, the course gives students the fundamental knowledge needed to comprehend African-American studies. However, it lacks the in-depth theoretical conversations that are more typical at the college.

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