Understanding the Importance and Value of African American Studies

Scot French specializes on U.S. History. He graduated with his M.A. from UVA. He received his M.A. In 1990, he received his M.A. from the University and his PhD in 2000 from UVA. It is of paramount importance to study African American History. George Santayana states, “Those that don’t learn history are doomed repeat it.”

Because of all the attachments and memories that go with it, history of African Americans living in America can sometimes seem tense. It is difficult to think of the North American slave market in such a contemporary time. As painful as it might seem, there is much to celebrate post the Slavery Era/Reconstruction Era/Civil Rights Era. If you study African American History/American History/World History, you can see the immense maturity of a Nation.

America and African Americans have evolved independently since the original 1619 blend when 20 slaves arrived to Virginia Colony. You will be inspired by the perseverance and courage these Africans displayed to make America great. These are the people who, despite being held captive by laws and chains, were able to overcome all obstacles.

An in-depth and accurate study of African Americans should be required for all Americans. Traditional History books throughout America have often led to the belief that African Americans were hopeless/hopeless and have always been people of despair. When one looks at the stories of Anthony Johnson (one of the original 20 slaves) and Denmark Vesey (first African American Entrepreneur), Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (first African American woman to receive a medical degree in the US), one will see that African Americans were always innovators, fighters, intelligent, and courageous.

As a young African American boy, I felt confused and lost. My mind saw all whites as slave owners, and all blacks as slaves. This is something I have lived with for 30 years. This made me feel that blacks were inferior and whites superior. As a father of a boy child, it was clear to me that my son would know who he was as an African American when he grew up. I resolved to teach and learn from that point forward. I felt like I was being pushed to the limit when my son reached his preschool years. He would learn about the first Fav 5 Black History Month “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” It was the perfect time to share more with him, I thought. We packed our bags and headed off to Atlanta for the weekend.

My cultural education started with his visit to Atlanta. We also visited the Dr. King Memorial Site, and King Center during our time in Atlanta. My then 5-year-old son was captivated by the King Center’s wall images. He was also fascinated to see the same house that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had grown up in. It was time to pack up and head back to St. Louis, where we would be starting a new week of pre-school classes and work. Even though we had left Atlanta and left the King Center, my boys’ minds never stopped ticking. My son’s curiousity kicked into high gear as we drove home. He asked me “Daddy, can we turn off the radio so that we can speak?” I began to study the history of people who had overcome all odds and became a true scholar.

When we returned home from Atlanta, our son would sit on my lap, turn the TV off, and ask: “Daddy, can you tell us about more important people of African descent in our history?” These questions, and my own curiosity led me to do extensive research about the African American people. I fell in love with my African American identity after many days and nights spent studying. I no longer felt inferior. I didn’t feel superior to whites.

For the first-time in my entire life, I felt that everyone was one. It was shocking to discover that blacks and browns were able to work together, fight together, live together even in the 1600’s. Does this mean that blacks aren’t only slaves? Or that whites aren’t just slave owners? This is how it is beginning look. Why is this not happening in America’s classrooms and homes? This would really end the age old race division and would instill self-worth and self-worth in the millions African American kids who grew up feeling exactly the same way.

My own African American History, which I learned and taught in my own home, led me to compile a list of extraordinary African American Achievers’ biographical summaries into a book entitled “RISEN – From Jamestown and the White House”. After being inspired to write RISEN by my son of 8 years, I was motivated to inspire others through the lives of some outstanding African American Achievers. This book covers the period from 1619, when 20 slaves arrived in Jamestown. It also covers the current day, when a White House family is occupying the White House.

Let me conclude by saying that studying African American History is very important. It helps to instill self value and self worth in African Americans. It shows African Americans as the tenacious, hopeful people they are and paints a beautiful picture Americas Maturity!

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