Current Events: AP U.S. History

By Brittany Plange

On Tuesday Oklahoma lawmakers voted almost unanimously to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History classes in high schools. Why, you might ask? Because that class allegedly only teaches “what is bad about America.” The bill in question, HB 1380 sponsored by state Rep. Dan Fisher (R), would defund the current curriculum. The state would also end funds geared toward preparing students for the AP exam. When the news broke of this event the community in Oklahoma was outraged, much like the rest of the country. Within a few days petitions focused on ending the bill were created. One in particular now has 19,241 signatures and the numbers still rise every day. In light of the massive backlash Republican lawmakers made revisions to the bill that would change the framework of the class to what lawmakers consider more “pro-American.” This translates into students being required to read 3 Reagan speeches and a speech by George W. Bush. The curriculum does not include any speeches from a democratic press after Lyndon Johnson. Ultimately the revisions have not helped ease the opposition to the bill. Fisher is not the only person opposed to AP History courses. According to Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern (R), “…AP courses are similar to Common Core, in that they could be construed as an attempt to impose a national curriculum on American schools.” Sally Kern has asked the Oklahoma Attorney General to issue a ruling on the matter. Many students and members of the Oklahoma community are outraged and should continue to be.  We can hope that our representatives will be forced to note this.

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Figure In History: Angela Davis

By Brittany Plange

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Angela Yvonne Davis was born on January 26, 1944 in Birmingham, AL and is one of the most important female figures in African-American history. She is best known as an activist for civil rights, education, and prison abolition. She obtained a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University where she studied under Frankfurt school philosopher Hebert Marcuse. In an interview she stated, “Herbert Marcuse taught me that it was possible to be an academic, an activist, a scholar, and a revolutionary.” In 1965 she graduated magna cum laude and went on to do her graduate studies at the University of California-San Diego. Towards the end of the 1960s she joined several groups, including the Black Panthers and the Che-Lumumba Club, an all-black branch of the Communist Party. During 1969-1970 she taught at the University of California-Los Angeles until then Governor Ronald Reagan urged the Board of Regents to fire her due to her ties to the Communist Party. In August 1970 an escapee attempt was made in a courtroom and several people were killed. The three prisoners associated with the attempt were inmates of the Soledad Prison and were thus given the name The Soledad Brothers. Because of this and Davis’s social stance during the time she was brought up on several charges including murder. The justification for this was that the guns used were in her name and that she was allegedly in love with one of the prisoners. She fled California and the FBI director at the time, J. Edgar Hoover, put her on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. In October 1970 she was found and apprehended and spent roughly 18 months in jail before she was acquitted of all charges. Since then she has written many books including Women, Race, and Class (1980) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003). She now teaches at the University of California-Santa Cruz on the history of consciousness and gives lectures at many different colleges, continuing to spread her wisdom to the next generation.

Current Events: Chapel Hill Shooting

By Brittany Plange

On Tuesday Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu Salha were gunned down and killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Police have arrested and charged Craig Hicks with the murder of the three college students.  The police, Hicks attorneys, and the majority of major news media outlets are saying that the motives behind this crime stem from a parking dispute. However, many people around the world including the victim’s family are not only calling this a hate crime but an act of domestic terrorism. It was not until a few days ago that this tragic murder reached national attention due to the media’s idleness on the matter. In the aftermath there have been a number of protests over the issue. President Obama weighed in on the event in a statement released Friday saying that the killings are “outrageous.” He also went on to state that “No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.” That same day the FBI declared it would be starting an investigation on whether or not any federal laws were violated by the crime. Additionally, Palestinian officials have stated they would like to do their own investigation of the murders. The Palestinian foreign minister stated on Saturday, “We consider it a serious indication of the growth of racism and religious extremism which is a direct threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who follow the Islamic faith.” While officials seem to be doing their best to bring justice to the victims the rhetoric and behavior exhibited by the media has been disturbing to say the least. This hate crime is one of many that will happen this year to innocent civilians. Since September 11, 2001 there are around 500 hate crimes against Muslims every year. These crimes must be stopped. It is up to us as the next generation and future leaders of this nation to spark change. It is up to us to make sure their lives were not taken in vain.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson

While these words have not been upheld fully in this country to every person, they hold truth and value in them. We must always continue the fight of freedom and equality.

R.I.P. Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu Salha.