North Carolina Essential Standards Social Studies Elective African American Studies

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North Carolina Essential Standards

Social Studies Elective

African American Studies
African American Studies is a conceptually driven course that introduces students to the exploration of the rich and diverse history and culture of African Americans. The goal of this course is to broaden the knowledge and understandings of students interested in learning about the histories, cultures and economic, geographic and political realities of African Americans. This course should provide students with an opportunity to engage with the social, economic and political activities of African Americans in a way that allows them to make deep connections across the content. The historical content of this course should be taught with relevance to contemporary and current issues in order to ensure a deeper understanding for students.

The standards are organized around five strands: history, geography and environmental literacy, economics and financial literacy, civics and government and culture. The strands should not be taught in isolation, but woven together in an integrated study that helps students understand the world in which we live. Additionally, the course includes two types of essential standards – one that identifies the skills that students should master during the course of the year and another that identifies the knowledge and understandings. The skills should be taught within the context of African American Studies, applying the knowledge and understandings of the course.

Note on Strands: H–History, G–Geography and Environmental Literacy, E–Economics and Financial Literacy, C&G–Civics and Government, and C–Culture


Essential Standard

Clarifying Objectives


Apply historical thinking in order to understand the African American life in the United States over time.


Use primary and secondary sources to interpret various historical perspectives.


Analyze competing historical narratives and debates among historians.


Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.


Analyze how historical context shape and continue to shape people’s perspectives.


Understand the significance of historical personalities, groups, institutions, and events in shaping African American life over time.


Analyze how key turning points in history have affected the lives of African Americans.


Explain how key historical figures have shaped the lives of African Americans.


Explain how various forms of resistance by individuals and groups have influenced change in the lives of African Americans.

Geography and Environmental Literacy

Essential Standard

Clarifying Objectives


Analyze the role of geography in the lives of African Americans over time.


Analyze the physical and human characteristics of various places and regions to understand the connection to African American identities and cultures.


Explain the reasons for and effects of forced and voluntary migration on societies, individuals and groups throughout African American history.


Analyze how environmental changes have impacted African American communities in terms of land use, settlement patterns and urban development.


Explain how region has impacted political perspectives, economic decisions and cultural practices of African American communities.


Apply geographic tools to understand African American groups and societies over time.


Use geographic data in order to understand economic, political, cultural and social patterns within African American communities.


Use maps, charts, graphs, photographs, geographic data and available technology tools to make inferences about African American life.

Economics and Financial Literacy

Essential Standard

Clarifying Objectives


Understand the ways in which African Americans addressed opportunities, challenges, and strategies concerning economic well being over time.


Analyze the economic development of African American groups and communities in terms of challenges to standard of living.


Explain how economic policies have impacted the socio-economic status of African Americans.


Analyze various geographic, cultural, social, political, and financial factors in terms of their impact on the economic mobility of African Americans.


Use cost-benefit analysis to assess the effectiveness of various approaches African Americans have used to solve economic issues.

Civics and Government

Essential Standard

Clarifying Objectives


Understand the African American quest for full citizenship over time.


Analyze African American politics in terms of the quest for self-governance, social separatism, contests for power, and electoral and global alliances.


Analyze the relationship between African-Americans and other groups in terms of conflict and cooperation in the pursuit of individual freedoms and civil rights.


Analyze political, constitutional and legal decisions and de facto practices to understand their impact on the lives of African Americans.


Explain how various philosophies and ideologies have played a role in the African American struggle for social, political and legal equality.


Analyze civic participation of African Americans in terms of leadership and strategic planning at various levels.


Essential Standard

Clarifying Objectives


Analyze the lives of African Americans to understand the impact of shared and differing experiences and identities.


Analyze the impact of assimilation, stereotypes, and oppression on the lives of African Americans.


Analyze ways in which African Americans have retained cultural identity over time while adapting to mainstream American culture.


Explain how various artistic expressions of African Americans have contributed to the shared identity of various groups.


Analyze the various cultural practices that have shaped the individual and collective identity of African Americans over time to understand shared and differing experiences.

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