Social studies department introduces course on African American history


James Ziegler, who will be teaching the new African American History course, works at his desk. Ziegler said, “I think it’s really important to give people a more holistic and well rounded perspective on history.”

Dariush Khurram

The social studies department is introducing a new course on African American history. According to James Ziegler, who will be teaching the course, next semester will be the first semester the course is offered at CHS. Ziegler said that the course will focus on the contributions black people have made in the United States, as well as the effects of systemic racism on U.S. history and current events.

On why the content of the course is important, Ziegler said, “Our American history is incredibly diverse, and the contributions of colored people are often overlooked. It’s important for people to understand this diversity. Then we can understand some of the issues we’re grappling with today with regards to lingering racism and discrimination.”

Junior Brandon Anderson, who is the co-president of the African History and Culture Club, supported this sentiment. He said, “I think that if we don’t learn about other cultures and really understand them, that’s how you breed ignorance and racism.”

Sharing his positive feelings on the course, Anderson said,  “I think it’s great. It’s long overdue.”

He does, however, hope to see continued progress. “I think it’d be nice if this diversity was always in the curriculum, and you didn’t have to just take specialized classes for it.”

Ziegler mirrored these thoughts. He said, “I think we’re making strides in representing different groups. Are we where we need to be? Not even close.” He said that he hopes to see the school continue to branch out and provide more course offerings, teach diverse perspectives, and represent authors of different backgrounds,

According to Ziegler, the African History and Cultural Awareness Club is currently pushing for another course: African Studies. “We haven’t had enough kids sign up for it to actually run it as a course. Ideally, our hope is that maybe next year we could get enough students enrolled in both African Studies and African American History that we could almost kind of run the courses side by side,” he said.

To learn more about how CHS has diversified its curriculum, read this story on increased representation in course work. By Dariush Khurram.