Course on ‘African-American Experience’ returning to campus in June

Course on ‘African-American Experience’ returning to campus in June

A course that hasn't been offered since TCU's 2008 Spring term, African-American Experience Since 1619, is re-emerging and being offered to students during the upcoming June session.

According to the TCU Course Catalog, African-American Experience Since 1619 is a survey course that will emphasize the “internal changes and external challenges faced by African-Americans” over the course of history.

Dr. Max Krochmal, who is a co-leader of the TCU Civil Rights Bus Tour and specializes in African-American and Latino labor histories, will be teaching the class. He hopes to make it more engaging than what students are traditionally used to.

“Rather than students just reading books, writing papers and listening to lectures, I’ve set it up where the main assignments are labs and the idea is that students will have an opportunity to do what we do as historians,” Krochmal said. “Hopefully, that’ll allow the subject matter to come alive a little more.”

The class will span from the 1619 arrival of African slaves in the American colonies until the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama, Krochmal said.

“Most of the history courses that we teach are focused on the history of white people and often of leaders, and this is a class that is focused on black people and often on ordinary people,” Krochmal said. “It’s a great chance to kind of see, especially for students who are maybe from more homogeneous areas, the different experiences of African-Americans.”

According to the class details on TCU Class Search, 10 spots are still open for the class. Krochmal believes the summer may be the biggest challenge in getting students interested.

“The biggest challenge is the summer term,” Krochmal said. “There’s a chance that the class will not get enough students, although I think we will. We’re right on the cusp.”

Despite the challenges of teaching the class as a summer course, Krochmal believes it will be a tool to help understand our present.

“It’s a course that really helps you make sense of the present world around you,” Krochmal said. “If you want to better understand race relations in America beyond just an abstraction, you need to know something about the African-American experience and this class offers that.”

Students can sign up for African-American Experience Since 1619 on to fulfill a Cultural Awareness or Historical Traditions credit. The course is listed as HIST 10703 and the class number is 50827. The class will meet five times a week in Scharbauer Hall 4009 from 9:40-11:10 a.m.