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First-ever Africana history course at TAMUCC connects students with the past

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Posted at 10:11 AM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 12:57:40-04

A Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi associate professor has created her own curriculum surrounding African history, hoping to better connect students to the past.

Le’Trice Donaldson is the first professor to create a course guided toward Africana studies at TAMUCC.

The class focuses on the ways in which race has impacted history, culture, institutions, ideas, and politics seen from within the African-American experiences.

Donaldson said the class is more than just lecturing and reading; they watch films and documentaries not always found in the mainstream. She said the education and learning can be an uncomfortable situation, especially learning the history of America.

“And really grasping and understanding that there were institutions, systems, laws created all around that," she said.

Students such as Aleah Anderson said they’ve learned a lot from Donaldson’s course.

“I’ve learned a lot about African descendants and ancestor and the slave trade and how it impacted African Americans and people in South America," she said.

As the advisor for the black student union at the university, Donaldson got the idea to create an Africana history course from her students.

“They told me they would like to see an introductory course to African American history or Africana Studies," Donaldson said.

She received her bachelors and masters degrees from The University of Tennessee Knoxville in history, and a minor in Africana studies. She then earned her doctorate from The University of Memphis in African-American History.

Jennifer Mahan is a history major, and plans to go into secondary education. She said this class is more than just a credit for her.

“And I think it’s important as an educator to relate to your students and I cannot relate to an African-American student if I can’t understand their history and their culture," said Mahan, who is taking the course.

Donaldson's course is available for undergraduate students, and it is firmly rooted in the social sciences, humanities and the arts.

“It’s definitely important to understand the black community and the African diaspora in terms of how we can help make our community better," said Chidera Iwuagwu another one of Dr. Donaldson's students.

Her main goal she said is she wants her students to leave her class feeling connected to the past.

“Feeling connected to the materials that they read and leave with a sense of change," Donaldson.

To read some of Donaldson's published works, click here.