African American Studies has been reintroduced at Leesville Road High School for the 2016-2017 school year. The last time Leesville offered the class was in 2014.
The juniors and seniors may not recognize this year’s class, however.
Kevin Bacon and Eugene McLemore, the two teachers teaching the class, have changed the curriculum slightly to reflect the present times. “Before, the class was [focused on] the Civil Rights era beyond, and now, everything before the civil rights era is actually all in the first quarter in the semester. We will expand into… the Civil Rights era, but also the new Jim Crow. I know people have heard of the Jim Crow laws, back in the day, but we have the new Jim Crow… the little ways the systems that have been set up to oppress minorities, a lot of people don’t even understand are around. They have just kind of been dispersed into everyday American life,” said McLemore.
Another thing the class will focus on will be the Obama administration.
There are only two periods of African American Studies this year. However, McLemore hopes that there will be enough students for four periods next year. “A lot of kids don’t even know African American history… I want every student at Leesville to take this class, not just African American kids, Latino kids, etc.” said McLemore.
Jada Easley, a sophomore, is currently taking the class with McLemore. “[I took the class] because I wanted to learn about my culture and how my people lived. I feel that [adding the class] was a great decision and everyone should take the class.” said Jada. “People can see from our perspective of how we lived, and how we didn’t like what we had to go through… I think everyone should take the class.”
The class seems to bring a sense of comradery among the students. They want to convey that the African American aspect of our history is often ignored, but essential. “You can learn about African American history and not be a minority, so when people say things to you, you actually know what you’re talking about,” said McLemore. “[The class is] new, it’s fresh, it’s awesome, and I love it.”