How AHS celebrating Black history during the month of February


The new addition of the African American History course in Annandale High School has allowed students to view American history from a commonly overlooked perspective. This elective, which is open to students of all grade levels, covers American history especially focusing on the details regarding African Americans.
The course has allowed students to reevaluate their common misunderstandings of American history and reveal hidden truths that lead to open discussions.
African American History teacher Poketha Ruffin invites students to engage in open discussions during class that encourages us to do our research and become more inquisitive about our history.
This class has revealed that African Americans have been involved in all parts of American history, from the Revolutionary War, to the present. However, these lessons are not limited to the students that take this class.
The lessons shown in each W4 class in the month of February share powerful stories of important African American figures and their impact on American society throughout history. From well known abolitionists like Harriet Tubman to the first black Congressmen, Hiram Revels, these lessons were a quick way for students and teachers alike, to learn something new.
These lessons were made by Ms.Ruffin’s African American History class to spread awareness of the topics we learned beyond our classroom.
Embracing black history during Black History Month through interactive lessons like these have allowed us to enjoy the process and feel impactful in the Annandale High School community.
Before taking this class, I had not realized how my knowledge of American history was only limited to white American history. The contributions of African Americans have been heavily overlooked despite being incredibly impactful to our modern day society.
In February, we are learning about the Reconstruction Era. During this era, the country had the potential to abandon racist policies and embrace equality, seeing as African Americans were already becoming policy makers and in the process of making a change. However, through bribery, threats, and intimidation tactics from terror organizations like the KKK, black codes and Jim Crow laws were enforced.
Learning that there was a potential for racial equality directly after the Civil War was a huge shock for me. It helped me understand how important it is that our politicians are not subjected to bribery or fear when making decisions, because this can have a heavy impact on our future.
The African American History course includes a Capstone project due at the end of the year that allows students to research a topic of their choosing and seek credible sources to create a holistic conclusion of African Americans’ experience or impact on the topic.
Understanding the trials and triumphs of African Americans gives us a better understanding of America’s dark history by revealing the shameful past that is often glossed over, but also reveals the positives of black history that aren’t often talked about.
Gaining a more accurate understanding of the past impacts our perception of modern day America by allowing us to understand the factors and events that created our modern day society.
Revealing the capabilities of Black Americans in the past through representation encourages us now to achieve our goals without being shackled by the limitations of the past.
With a more holistic understanding of Black and American history, we are able to cast out propaganda that limits our capabilities. Black History Month was an opportunity for us to reveal the parts of the past that were hidden, taboo topics that are difficult or controversial to talk about, reveal the truth, and experience the freedom that comes with it.
This Black History Month, Annandale High School had the opportunity to embrace a new side to our shared history.
Having the opportunity to work with a teacher like Ms. Ruffin and collaborating with fellow students gave me the opportunity to build new connections through learning Black history.I’ve always been passionate about accurate representation and diversity, so being able to tackle this common goal with others who also share the same passion has been a great learning experience for me.