Social Studies Lecture Series Teaches History from African American Perspective

     Published on 4/17/19   Tagged under:    District News    Nottingham High School    PSLA @ Fowler   

In partnership with the Syracuse University School of Education, SCSD social studies teachers have had the opportunity to hear firsthand from African American scholars, helping them better understand history from an African American perspective.
Through a year-long series, ‘The African American Experience Lecture Series for Professional Development of Teachers in the Humanities,’ staff have heard lectures about the genealogies of race relations in the U.S. (Dr. Duchess Harris, Professor of American Studies at Macalester College), the politics and history of racism (Tara Ross, Professor of Social Sciences and Philosophy at Onondaga Community College), the black body (Dr. Harriet Washington, Author of ‘Medical Apartheid’) and African American Culture: Art, Literature and Music (Dr. A.D. Carson, Professor of Hip-Hop at the University of Virginia). Additional lectures are planned in the coming months.
“There are resources out there that just don’t fulfill the answers,” Supervisor of Social Studies Nick Stamoulacatos said. “We can’t truly understand the African American perspective if we don’t hear it directly from African American scholars themselves.”
So throughout the year, teachers – and community members – have been invited to attend several lectures to help them better understand the importance of cultural responsiveness when it comes to teaching about the African American cultural identity. Each lecture was also accompanied by six to seven scholarly readings, as well as a follow-up discussion.
“The lecture series has been an amazing experience,” Nottingham AP World and SUPA American History Teacher Don Little said. “It is rewarding when teachers have the chance to engage in meaningful discussions of race and the scholarship of history. These experts have broadened our collective experiences and provided us with greater understanding of race.”
“Through this lecture series, I learned so much about the importance of recognizing that marginalization of certain groups of people exists in this country today,” PSLA at Fowler Social Studies Teacher Perry Crain said. “I plan to incorporate the ideas that I've learned in this lecture series in my teaching in a number of important ways. In general, knowing that marginalization exists is something that I can internalize and be aware of when I teach. I think it's going to help me to be more culturally responsive as well.”
This coming summer, after the final lecture, SCSD teachers will have time to apply the knowledge they have gained into their lesson plans.
In the Syracuse City School District, we pride ourselves on celebrating Black History all year long – not just in February. What a great way to remind all of us that African American history is all of our history!