History of the United States (with emphasis on Virginia):
In this course, we examine the story of the people who have inhabited North America over the last 500 years. This course begins with the understanding that there were diverse groups of people inhabiting North America before European exploration. European exploration led to much death through disease and murder. These people were Native Americans, and their lifestyles and cultures were just as different as citizens living in the United States today. Exploration led to colonization. Colonization occured for a variety of reasons; the top two reasons being economic opportunity and escape from religious persecution. Quickly after colonization, slavery entered the agrarian South (and Caribbean) as early as 1619.
This course details the terrible institution of slavery (1619-1863) and then goes on to describe how African Americans continued to be discriminated against well into the 1960's through politics, particularly in the housing sector. We discuss what has become termed as the "New Jim Crow Laws." In this course we talk quite a bit about inequality and dispell myths of racism and prejudice. We focus quite a bit on the term "empathy." In studying history, we must be cognizant of the fact that lifestyles, ideals, and morals change over time and not everyone thinks the same way. People are entitled to their own opinions, but it is our goal to at least have conversations about issues and see things from others' perspectives without resorting to harsh words or conflict.
One of the resources that we will be using is Howard Zinn's, "The People's History of the United States," which examines the struggle between races, religions, socioeconomic groups, and regions throughout U.S. History.
The goal of this course is to help students find even greater interest not only in the History of the United States, but also in the study of History in general by opening new doors to motivations behind research. This class is meant to be a collaboration of student thought in an effort to explore new avenues of historical thinking.
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