As a public historian, I was excited to use Clint Smith’s How the Word Is Passed in my African American History class in the fall semester. I assigned one chapter to each student to “become the expert” and teach the rest of the class about the historic site and its interpretation of African American history.
We used some of the discussion questions on the Zinn Education Project website as a starting point for our in-class discussion. Each student then prepared a poster for our university research colloquium, where they discussed the issues of interpretation of African American history with other faculty and students on our campus. In fact, one of the students took first place in the Humanities poster competition!
I had planned to use Smith’s book in my Museum Studies class this semester, but most of those students were in the class last semester and were already familiar with the book! As many of my students plan to become teachers, I’m happy for the opportunity to continue to remind them that “African American history is American history.”