A new Black and African American studies course will be offered to public high school juniors and seniors this fall in Frederick County, Maryland.
The Frederick County Board of Education unanimously approved a measure to offer the social studies elective Wednesday night — to a room full of applause.
The course will be available at any public county high school where enough students sign up for it.
The seven-unit course “charts the accomplishments and struggles of people of African descent in America,” according to description provided by the board of education.
“The course takes an interdisciplinary approach rooted in historical exploration that centers the experiences and voices of African Americans. Through a largely, but not exclusively, chronological approach, this course will emphasize how African Americans have worked to determine the trajectory of their own lives while navigating extensive challenges to freedom, advancement, and prosperity,” the description stated.
The description said that while “some attention will be paid to African origins,” the course would “analyze the historical, economic, political, and cultural paths from the African Slave Trade through the modern era” as well.
Frederick County Board of Education President Brad Young praised Terry Anne Scott, an associate professor of American history and Chair of the Department of History at Hood College, who worked with Frederick County Public Schools in developing the course.
Some parents, such as Joharia Singer, who spoke at the meeting, said the new course should be made available to younger students as well.
“Given the history of racial intolerance in our county, why would we not offer this course much earlier in a student’s academic life? It’s overtly clear that they need this education way before the last two years of their academic careers.”
The vote followed social media threats of violence earlier this month directed at Black students at the county’s Middletown Middle School. Three Frederick County middle schoolers were charged with a racial hate crime in connection with the posts.
WTOP’s Matt Small contributed to this report.