Prior to the pandemic, more than 300,000 African American high school students took Advanced Placement courses and took examinations that in some cases could lead to college credits. Advanced Placement courses are offered in a wide variety of subjects including, English, history, mathematics, sciences, and foreign languages.
Now this fall for the first time, there is an Advanced Placement course in African American studies. The course is being offered in 60 high schools throughout the United States. The new offering makes a total of 40 Advanced Placement tests and it is the first new subject added since 2014.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University who helped develop the curriculum for the Advancement Placement course, said that “nothing is more dramatic than having the College Board launch an AP course in a field — that signifies ultimate acceptance and ultimate academic legitimacy. AP African American Studies is not critical race theory. It’s not the 1619 Project. It is a mainstream, rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study, one half a century old in the American academy, and much older, of course, in historically Black colleges and universities.”