HIST 150: African American to be offered in spring 2017

African American Hitory
Matthew Rietveld / The Watchdog

As part of Black History Month, the Bellevue College History Department announced that a new class will be offered next quarter. HIST 150: African American History is an online class that is available spring quarter for the first time and will introduce students to African American history, focusing on events that shaped the struggle for freedom and justice, helping students gain historical perspectives on contemporary civil rights issues and movements. Students who take this class earn five credits of social science or humanities. HIST 150 has no prerequisites. There is however, a $52.50 eLearning Fee.

Dr. Terry Anne Scott is the instructor for the new class. Scott has been teaching history for seven years at BC, and also lectured at the University of Washington. She recently accepted a faculty position with Hood College in Maryland, and is offering HIST 150 at BC as an online class.

The BC website states that Scott earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on race, urban history and racial issues in the south. She is currently completing two book-length manuscripts. One explores “how lynching, once a strictly punitive and largely clandestine form of political and labor domination, evolved into publicly viewed, well-attended, frequently commercialized exhibitions of racial violence,” and the second “examines the genesis and defense of racial homogeneity in predominantly white Dallas, Texas neighborhoods,” according to the BC website.

Dr. Scott has also worked on various public history projects, “including an investigation of Freedman’s Cemetery, a nineteenth century African American burial ground” according to the BC website.

The class “surveys the history of African Americans from the slave trade to present. Topics include African origins, construction of racial identity, slavery, emancipation, formation of post-emancipation communities, the Harlem Renaissance and war and migration, civil rights activism,” according to the BC website.

Dr. Brian Casserly explained that BC’s history department has been contemplating a class in African American history for some time. “We felt African American history is important enough that it deserved a class that just focused only on the history of African American people in the United States.” BC offers several specialty history classes, including Latin American history, the history of modern Asia and the history of Africa. “This is the only class we have that focuses on one particular cultural group within the boundaries of the United States,” said Casserly.

“This class was three years in the making,” said Dr. Sabrina Sanchez, history department program chair. “It takes a long time to get an application through the curriculum approval process.” Over the summer, Sanchez worked with Scott to gain approval. In two weeks, “enrollment so far reached 50 percent of the maximum number of students,” said Sanchez. She explained that this is a good sign that there is “high demand for students wanting to learn more about African American history.” Given the high interest, HIST 150 may be offered twice a year, while most specialty history classes are only offered once a year.

“I’m proud of my school for offering an African American history class next semester. I would definitely be interested in taking the course,” said BC student Genesis Salazar.