In 2019 the activism of the youth of color across Connecticut came to fruition with the passing of statewide legislation requiring that all high schools in Connecticut offer an African American and Latinx History course as an elective option for students. On the one hand it is disappointing that in 2019 such legislation is necessary, that African American and Latinx history — not to mention Native American and Asian American history — is not already an integral component of U.S. history and high school curricula. On the other hand, given the reality of the situation, it is undeniable that this is a step in the right direction. Now that this legislation has passed, it is crucial that high-quality curricula is created by teachers, and that teachers across the state receive ongoing training in how to facilitate this curriculum.
The teaching of African American and Latinx histories is vital for students of color, who deserve to know their history. But it is also important to acknowledge that the learning of this history is actually necessary for (young) people of all races, including those who are white. Black and Latinx history is American history. The United States was founded and expanded on the backs of people of color, and to deny that history is to live a lie. Furthermore, the myriad contributions of people of color throughout this country‘s history and today make America what it is. In other words there is no United States of America without people of color, and thus there is no U.S. history without these histories, which must be learned by all those who identify as Americans.
The following curriculum will focus on one component of this new mandate, Latinx history. It is important to note that Latinx history is incredibly vast in terms of space, time, and peoples. To offer it as a half-year component of a course is already limiting this history. In the same vein, it is necessary to acknowledge that this curriculum will by no means be exhaustive. The hope is that teachers can take what is useful to them from this curriculum, as well as build upon it. Furthermore, although Latinx history is presented here in isolation, my intention is to integrate it with African American history, and I recommend other teachers do so as well. Teaching histories in isolation can purport the false notion that these different groups of people did not interact and that their histories do not overlap and intersect, when in fact they do.