Editor’s note: A previous version of this article reported the registration deadline for HIST 2381, African American History 1, for May 11. The correct registration deadline is June 1.
Registration ends June 1.
By Sergio Medina
This college will begin offering HIST 2381, African American History 1, as a Summer 8 Week online-only course, instructed by history Professor Samuel Byndom.
The eight-week course begins June 7 and ends July 29.
In an interview May 3, Byndom said the course focuses on the history of African Americans from the beginning of English colonization in the 17th century through the Civil War and Reconstruction in the 19th century.
America’s Black Holocaust Museum reports that the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which began in the 15th century and lasted until the 19th century, forced about 12.5 million African natives to relocate to the Americas. About 450,000 people were directly shipped to North America.
The study of African American history will empower students to better understand their past and aid the current conversations around systemic racism in the country, Byndom said.
“Even though our problems and solutions exist currently, you know, many of the root causes to that are in the past.”
Understanding those root causes leads to actualized change, he added.
Because history has often been taught through the lens of a white, euro-centric perspective, the contributions of historically marginalized groups have been largely ignored, Byndom said.
He said that it’s been “possibly more than 30 years” since this college taught a course about African American history.
History Professor Jonathan Lee said in a May 4 email that when he started teaching at this college in 1997, the college was not offering an African American history course.
He said the college follows the academic course guide manual — a list of courses public four-year universities can count as transfer courses from community colleges — published by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The course 2381, African American History 1, was added to the manual in spring 2020.
Byndom said that as long as institutions do not encourage or expand the instruction of history relevant to marginalized groups, that information will continue to be suppressed and those groups will continue to be marginalized.
“History is a weapon in the ideological battle between those who want to change society and those who want to maintain its basic features.”
Byndom said cultural misinformation perpetuates the status quo, signaling to the continuing teaching and celebration of Christopher Columbus as the discoverer of America, as an example, when already as many as 112 million Americans lived on the continent when he arrived in 1492.
“I want students to take away from this course the ability to critically think and investigate different perspectives,” Byndom said. “I want them to feel confident in challenging what it is they believe they know, what they’ve heard in terms of, ‘is this the truth?’
“I think in many ways when we talk about science, as we gain new information, the idea of holding on to things that we know are incorrect or false is absurd, but when we talk about how it is that we understand history, there is this, it’s almost like grief, in the way that some folks are willing to hang on to things that they know aren’t accurate or true in order to hold on to a tradition,” he said.
Registration for Summer 8 Week ends June 1.
For more information, contact Byndom at email@example.com, or history program co-Coordinator Lisa Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org.