New Social Studies Course: African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies

Mr. Ames Shares What This Course is About

Next year, juniors and seniors can choose a new history course called African American/ Black and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies. History teacher Max Ames will be teaching this class. Mr. Ames shared, “It is almost like two classes in one. The first semester focuses on Black and African American History and covers how all human history traces back to Africa. It starts way back and goes forward in time and talks about Egypt and pyramids, then goes into slavery in Africa then to the Americas.”

Mr. Ames
Leah Scoppa

He said it covers the slavery students have learned about in their average history class, but he also claimed, “a lot of people learn about Ancient Egypt and slavery, but it fills in the blank between slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.”
Mr. Ames said the second semester will cover Latino history. Students will learn about Columbus and Europeans, immigration to North America and more.

He shared that this course covers a large span of history and goes into the modern era, including all the history we are living through now.

Mr. Ames said, “African Americans and Latino studies is such a broad topic and people will hear this and think it has a narrow topic.” By this, he means that the class will not only focus on the specific groups in the title, but on other cultures and minorities. He then said that, “A big portion has to do with indigenous communities and other populations and minorities.”

Mr. Ames said the content covers, “all identities and everyone has a home in the class.” He shared that this class even talks about white identity. He claimed that the class “focuses on all identities on word history and does not knock anyone.” He said the class provides an “all encompassing history.” This class touches upon psychology, anthropology, and sociology as well.

New Class Poster
Leah Scoppa

Mr. Ames said it is a “brand-new curriculum, just designed, with modern projects.” He said these include projects like creating a TikTok and something with Netflix. He said that the curriculum was designed by a team of a hundred people. He exclaimed, “it is a great look at what a new modern, up-to-date history course might look like.”
The class “focuses on Connecticut history and the important figures in Connecticut.” He says students in the class will learn about Witness Stones and learn if a slave ever lived in Clinton. He also shared why there is such an emphasis on Puerto Rican history in the title. He said, “70 percent of Connecticut’s Latino population is Puerto Rican, and that is why there is such an emphasis on that.”

He is interested in teaching this new course because it covers topics he is genuinely interested in. He also shared, “I have taught similar topics and classes in the past.” He taught classes on conflicts in American politics and the controversies on how things should be implanted in modern days. He also taught a social justice course in the past. He is interested in this too because he shared, “I took a fantastic black history class in college that got me interested in this sort of thing.”

Mr. Ames Teaching
Leah Scoppa

Mr. Ames wants to teach this class because he believes it opens up discussion. He believes that this class is so important to teach because, “when it comes to these topics, it usually politically charged.” He also said, “people are constantly talking about them,” and “whatever side of the political aisle they fall on, this class will give materials on how to make sense of this.” He said that since it goes up to modern day, the material is relevant. He accentuated that this course covers topics that should have been covered in history but were not. He definitely believes the class is full of surprises and interesting stories.

Some students who found his class intriguing and important or who are planning on taking the course next year shared their views:

Sophomore Madelyn Sacta Guartazaca said, It is a good opportunity for people to learn other cultures if that’s what they are interested in. It teaches people not to be rude and understand the culture.” She also said, “It teaches people who already are part of that culture more about their cultures and things they do not know.”
Sophomore Mia DiGiandomenico claimed, “it is important because we need to understand the histories of people and minority groups in America, so we can understand the past and be more sensitive in the future and helpful, and understand the feelings of the past and all the triumphs and failures of the past and how that will take us into the future.”

Junior Muntara Singh shared, “I am interested in this class and am excited to take it next year because as a person of color at this school, I think it is important to learn about culture besides our own and how cultures like African American and Black culture have influenced American culture.” She also said, “as a first generation child of immigrants, I recognize and understand that this country is a melting pot of different cultures, ideas, and people.”
Muntara also shared, “I would love to see more of a targeted focus on learning about other minority groups and their contributions to American culture and their culture in general. Learn about Native Americans, South Pacific Americans, being one, Asian American, women, and other cultures.”

Mr. Ames also explained that students can take the class as an honors class. will be people in the same class, but at taking it at different levels. Mr. Ames said the honors class is “for people who want a more competitive GPA,” and “people doing honors will have different additional things they need to do.” He said honors students will have to complete assignments such as extra projects or an extra journal entry.
This class Mr. Ames will be teaching starting next fall carries great significance and captivating information that students may find fascinating to learn about. It is never too late to contact your school counselor and enroll in this class.