History & Literature: Black Civil Rights Movement

History & Literature: Black Civil Rights Movement
Posted on 10/09/2019
Dr. Todd Allen speaks to the Civil Rights classsElective Spotlight: History and Literature of the American Civil Rights Movement
Evan Williams
Staff Writer
20ewilliams@cvsdstudents.org



Dr. Todd Allen from Messiah College prepares the Civil Rights class for their trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture

 The American Civil Rights Movement is perhaps one of the most important eras in American history; however, the teaching of the subject is often confined to names and events. Unbeknownst to many, Cumberland Valley began offering a course taught by Mr. Keith Long and Mr. Levi Mumma titled History and Literature of the Black Civil Rights Movement.

The course was first conceived at the end of the previous school year. Administrators, teachers and students involved in Cumberland Valley’s Spirit Committee came up with the idea of offering the class after attending the Spirit Summit at Coatesville High School. The course was proposed to the board, and once approved, proudly implemented into the program of studies.

The class covers a range of subjects within the Civil Rights Era by focusing on the history and literature of the era. Offered as an English elective, students delve into important events, individuals, and groups within the movement.

Beginning with the founding of the movement after the abolishment of slavery and ending with the conclusion of the Civil Rights Era, the class challenges students to connect history to contemporary life. 

"Through our study of the movement, we are challenging and encouraging students to respond to racism and discrimination in 2019," Mumma said. "It's powerful to learn that ordinary people changed the world they were forced to endure into the world in which they could thrive." 

Considering the class is new, it has not yet had the chance to be introduced to everybody in the school, aside from seeing it under the English electives section during course selection.

“I haven’t heard of the class,” senior Mia Crowley said, “but since I’m from Alabama, the history of the movement was something I was always exposed to, so I would definitely be interested in it.”

Many students shared similar opinions, as it is a topic that most young adults are eager to learn more about.

The class sees relatively low enrollment this year due to it being its inaugural year. As more students learn about its curriculum and its importance, Mumma believes that the number of students signing up will grow exponentially.

Students currently enrolled in the class have nothing but positive reviews.

Many were excited about the material long before they stepped foot into class, and some were looking for a further understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.

Senior Riley Powell said, “I would say definitely take the class. I knew a lot going into it, but there is a lot I didn’t know as well. You can really learn a lot from it.”

"We read a memoir called “Warriors Don’t Cry,” about the Little Rock Nine. I’ve definitely learned a lot I didn’t know before.”

Many students may not have heard about the class, but many would be intrigued by its subject matter. History and Literature of the Black Civil Rights Movement will likely be offered again next year, and students are encouraged to consider it come course selection time in January.

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