African-American Studies caps semester with D.C. trip

Walker’s one-semester course, African-American Studies, looked at African-American History in the United States from the mid-17th Century to the 1960’s from an intellectual and social perspective.

The course started with this quote as students discussed the double-consciousness of Blacks in America: 

“One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro: two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings: two warring ideals in one dark body.”
— W.E.B Dubois, “The Souls of Black Folks,” 1903.

Rick Holifield, Assistant Head of Upper School and Director of Community Life, taught the course, which he said took a scholarly approach to the experiences of people of (West) African descent, as students also sojourned through the Great Sudanese Empires.

Through readings, discussions and films such as “Rootsand “The Great Debaters,” and a field trip to view the more recent depiction of Harriett Tubman in the movie “Harriett,” the students studied various historical forces that influenced American History, all through an Afrocentric lens.

The course provided students the opportunity to analyze the impact African-Americans had in shaping the nature and direction of American life and culture. They discussed the African-American experience and struggle for equality, freedom, justice, human rights and identity in the United States.

In addition to their final capstone project, “The Great Debate: Dubois or Washington,” students completed their time together with a trip to Washington D.C. where they visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
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