Lancer Spotlight 9/28/22: New African American Studies course offered at Linganore


Emily Rice

Students in African American Studies course engaging in their lesson.

by Jenna Fountain, Reporter

This year, a new course was introduced to Frederick County high schools. African American Studies is a course that covers the history of African-Americans. The course at Linganore is taught by Samira Diggs during third block.

In the class, students complete posters, debate topics relating to the class and watch documentaries.

“We try to make it as fun and interesting as we can [while] respecting the heaviness that a lot of content has, ” said Diggs.

Even though the class covers traditionally academic material, Diggs makes sure to throw some projects in to make the workload easier on students. Students taking the class commented that they think the class is interactive, amazing and interesting.

“We do a lot of fun activities; it is very project-based, and it is not focused on tests like a traditional history class. So, it is more like you’re actually learning to get the information and not just to do well on a test,” said Junior Ava Taylor.

Diggs shifted from being a full-time social studies teacher at Linganore to half-time this year. Taking on this new class at Linganore this semester and Brunswick High School next semester allows her to work part-time in her content area. Diggs explains that she made the shift because of her three kids.

“The challenge of having little kids and a job is enough right there. I have a 5-, 3-, and 1-year-old. So, being part-time makes it nice so I can drive the boys to school in the morning. Before, I was leaving before anyone was awake and everything was on my husband,” said Diggs.

Promise Green and Adjoa Benefo having a debate about The Constitution’s connection to slavery in front of class (Jenna Fountain)

Diggs is the first teacher to teach the class, not only at Linganore but within the county. There are only a few students enrolled in African-American Studies, since this is the first time the class is offered. Currently, there are only 11 students enrolled in the class.

“I think it will really take off next year,” said Aaron Burch, social studies department chair. “Mrs. Diggs does an amazing job.”

The class goes more in-depth about the parts of history that are commonly overlooked. Students learn about important people in African-American history that made contributions both large and small. Generally, American Studies classes may not study most of these people because their impact was seen as insignificant.

“It is a good class to take. There are things that you don’t really know, and you get to learn about interesting people that most people just don’t know about,” said Adjoa Benefo.

Other students in this class said similar things when asked if they would take this class again.

“It teaches you more about history than regular history class. It gets more in-depth into it. Not only are you learning regular history, but you’re getting a perspective from somebody who was deeply affected by it,” said Skyler Turner.