Texas Ed Board’s African American studies course to be expanded

'Unfortunately U.S. history for African Americans is a story of loss. It’s a story of trauma,' Tracy Smith said

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In the first year after Texas High schools began offering African American studies courses, many high school teachers like Tracy Smith are seeing a gap in information. For instance, there is a lack of focus on race relations, policy brutality and government policy.

Smith, a teacher at Moises E. Molina High School in Dallas, shows political cartoons about the current events in the country and adds lessons about Black Americans that lead back to Africa.

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“Unfortunately U.S. history for African Americans is a story of loss. It’s a story of trauma,” Smith says. “It’s a story that starts with the American system of slavery, when that is not where the story of African Americans begins.”

According to Dallas News, after Black Lives Matter protests last summer, which were sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, school districts across the state started developing new courses to address the current events.

Google Maps Street View Image of Moises E. Molina High School

“If you really think about it, people who were protesting during the uprisings this summer, they got their information and their fire from school,” Smith told the outlet. “So every time we’re talking about something, I’m constantly trying to connect it to how we are where we are right now. That’s a big piece of African American studies.”

The Texas State Board of Education gave the final approval for the upcoming elective African American studies course last year. The course will weave in historical events with content concerning the contributions and overall experience of Black Americans.

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Lawrence Scott, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and member of the advisory team said the goal is to give students a deeper understanding of Black American history, then and now ,that’s beyond historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Harriet Tubman.

“My hope is that students from all races will be able to witness the many contributions our people have made to the progression of our nation and have collaborative action to truly promote equity and justice for all,” Scott said.

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