Cherry Hill East requires students to take an African American history course to graduate


Courtesy of ABC News

ABC News interviews Machayla Randall (’21) on her role in the push to make the African American elective a graduation requirement.

Our history is what defines us. Bringing that history to life is dependent upon the individual. If we as the individual decide to to speak up for what we believe is right, then we can make an everlasting impact. The African American Culture Club at Cherry Hill East did just that. In order to educate the rest of the community on the history of African Americans, the club came together to ensure that the course is mandated as a graduation requirement. The Cherry Hill District is the first district in New Jersey to require an African American history course for graduation.

Currently, the African American course is offered at both East and West High Schools but only as an elective. Now with this mandate, the course, starting next school year, is going to be a requirement for graduation. Machayla Randall (‘21), a student who is a part of the African American Culture Club at East said it is important to “use your voice to make a change.”

East already offers a variety of history courses that include African American history, but the African American Culture Club wants to ensure that all students are enlightened about the African American history in depth. Randall said that the standard history courses only cover a few pages from a textbook, which is not enough. However, by implementing a course that is completely devoted to the history of African American culture, students will be more informed about the history of African Americans.

Education taught and received will broaden the perspective of many individuals. Randall said that the minorities that are usually not talked about, will comfortably be discussed in a classroom setting. Students do not get the opportunity to learn and discuss African American history in depth in a regular history class, but with a course like this, which is completely devoted to the rich history of African Americans, students will get as much as out of it as possible.