Create Advanced Placement Courses on African Civilizations and African American History

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THE ASK

As per College Board’s Restated and Amended Bylaws, College Board demonstrates its commitment to access and equity for ALL students through its activities. However, with the absence of courses focusing on Black culture, this commitment is not evident unless the proposed AP courses below, and other courses of the like, are created. We stand in solidarity for the demand of College Board to respectfully honor Black culture and accurately depict the experience of Black people across the diaspora through a culturally responsive framework in the form of two (2) new AP courses: AP African Civilizations and AP African American History written by a committee of experts, inclusive of Black educators, with the knowledge and passion for these subjects.

  • AP AFRICAN CIVILIZATIONS
    • This course will provide an understanding of the African experience throughout history with a general overview of centers of African Civilization from antiquity through contemporary times. Included in the course will be coverage of African civilizations such as ancient Kemet (Egypt), Nubia, Axum, Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Kilwa, Sofola, Malinda, Monomotapa, and others. The course will also provide introductory knowledge of the fundamental cultural commonalities that African peoples share in the midst of linguistic and other kinds of diversity. The course will also examine the influence that African Civilization has exerted on other cultures as well as the impact of cross-cultural contacts on the African experience. 
  • AP AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
    • This course will consist of an introduction to African American history comprised of units that span the timeframe of the 16th century to present-day. Students will learn the vast history that begins with the rich legacy of African Kingdoms, the Atlantic Slave Trade, resistance and triumph in America, to the onward movement of resilience in today's Civil Rights era. 

CONTEXT

Advanced Placement (AP), a College Board program, was designed to increase college-and-career readiness and provide students with the opportunity to obtain college credit while enrolled in high school. Research shows that AP students are better prepared for college than students who don’t take AP, are more likely to enroll and stay in college, do well in their classes, and graduate in four years. Depending on school-based availability, students have the option of enrolling in any of the 38 AP courses available in the Capstone Diploma Program, Math and Computer Sciences, Arts, English, History and Social Sciences, Sciences, and World Languages and Cultures. However, data has shown that Black students have less access to AP courses, participate less, and underperform in comparison to their counterparts. And yet, with culture-specific course options such as AP European History, AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP French Language and Culture, AP German Language and Culture, AP Italian Language and Culture, AP Japanese Language and Culture, AP Latin, AP Spanish Language and Culture, and AP Spanish Literature and Culture for students to choose from, Black students of the African diaspora have no AP course to choose that focuses on the rich history, influence, and elements of Black culture.

Throughout U.S. History, people of color, particularly Black people across the diaspora, have been victimized through oppression, discrimination, and systemic institutions. It shows up in our politics, healthcare and judicial systems, economy, and education. The inception of Jim Crow laws exacerbated the effects of generational systemic oppression on Black communities that is still felt today. Cases such as Murray v. Maryland (1936), Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938), Sweat v. Painter (1950), McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education (1950), and Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955) are just a few early and prominent examples of battles that Black people have had to endure for the right to obtain equal opportunities for a quality education. Yet still, even in the 21st century, the disparities in academic achievement is profound, particularly in Advanced Placement. As our world is changing and the demand increases for an understanding and appreciation of the Black experience, we must equip students with the knowledge they need to speak to issues that impact the Black community and make a positive impact.

AGREEMENT

Signees of this petition agree with the demand for culturally relevant education in the form of, but not limited to, the proposed AP courses. Stand with us in solidarity for a more inclusive learning experience encompassing narratives from across the African diaspora for the enrichment of ALL students. Thank you.

#BlackHistoryMatters

Drafted by students and staff of Brooklyn Preparatory High School in partnership with the AP for All initiative of the New York City Department of Education.

Contact APforAll@schools.nyc.gov for questions and inquiries.

Follow @APforAll on Twitter and Instagram.