The Old Plantation (Slaves Dancing on a South Carolina Plantation), ca. 1785-1795. watercolor on paper, attributed to John Rose, Beaufort County, South Carolina. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. Featured Image
Oakland, Calif. – The California Community College system is the largest educational system in the U.S. serving more than 2.3 million students, yet only 2 of the 114 colleges (1.8 percent) offer a required course on African history for students obtaining an associate of arts degree. Students majoring in history are required to take U.S. history and Western civilization courses, but African history courses are almost completely omitted from the curriculum throughout the state.
The California community college that has a required course on African history is San Diego City College, and the campus requires this course for students majoring in African American Studies. Contra Costa College in San Pablo is the only campus which requires an African history course for both History and African American Studies majors, and its “History of African Civilizations” course is the only class in the state which focuses exclusively on ancient Africa.
Not only are courses on Africa rare but there is also a scarcity of recent textbooks on African civilizations. The few existing books typically emphasize the modern issues of slavery, colonization, and the 20th century independence movement, while minimizing the African civilizations before the continent’s recent decline in the 16th century.