Troy Online is offering History 2225, African-American Experience — the undergraduate course focusing on African-American history and U.S. race relations — when it opens its virtual doors to online students of Term II this week.
History 2225, which launched in spring 2017 on Troy’s main campus, fits into Area IV of general curriculum requirements and does not have prerequisites.
According to Kathryn Tucker, a lecturer in history and the mind behind the class, the course traces African-American history from its beginnings in slavery to the present.
“Hopefully we’ll pull it out all the way to (President Barack) Obama and today and the Black Lives Matter movement,” Tucker said. “What students want to talk about is what’s going on today, and my goal as professor is to give them the tools to understand, you know, how we got in these situations.
“The problems that we’re experiencing in society today don’t just spring from nowhere. It’s the result of the historical trends and actions, so I want students to be able to understand where we are today based on what happened in the past.”
Heavily discussion-based, the class has supplementary reading, but only one required textbook on the list: John Lewis’ autobiography “Walking with the Wind.”
“He talks about growing up in Troy and going to the town square and seeing the Confederate monument and talking about what that symbolized to him as a kid, and going to Byrd Drug Store and not being able to sit down,” Tucker said. Now, Lewis is a congressman from Georgia.
The course incorporates roleplay, where students have to solve the integration of a segregated town.
Jermain Van Buren Jr., a sophomore theater major from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, said the class was more enjoyable because of how much students got into character, making the course his favorite of the spring semester.
“Some of the stuff that I already thought I knew about the African-American experience, being an African-American male, I didn’t know,” Van Buren said. “So it was very interesting to learn what I didn’t know about my own culture.
“And we could really see why we protest, why we celebrate to this day, and you definitely see the roots of all of the organizations that have been built to advance colored people’s rights, all the organizations that have been built to advance civil rights, all the organizations that have been created to advance culture in the African-American community, so that’s why I think it’s important for everybody to take this class. It’s a crucial part of American history.”
As of Tuesday morning, the online class of 12 will feature the same open spaces for discussion that Tucker strove to provide.
And while Van Buren said he was worried that the discussion wouldn’t be the same without live interactions, he would still take it for the information.
Abri McDaniel, a sophomore biomedical sciences major from Pensacola, Florida, and another student of the same class, said that it is a course people from every ethnic background could benefit from.
“It’s very important because, I mean, for a non-African-American, to be in that class, it would give you so much knowledge of the stuff that you never even experienced, and being African-American, there was so much that we even learned,” McDaniel said.
“People can see our point of view; they can see the actual, not the struggle, but like the actual things we went through.”