Aya Academy of Excellence

African American History Curriculum for Today’s Digital Learners Part Two

Earlier this year, my sixth grader participated in a collaborative project in her language arts class called MVP.  In small groups, students had to research the life and achievements of a famous person to compete in a dialogue to ascertain which group represented the most valuable person researched.  This exercise involved using critical analysis to select profound contributions in an individual’s life story which have impacted the broader society.  

My daughter’s group was assigned Muhammad Ali.  For our 20/20 Tapestry African American History Curriculum, we too have selected Mr. Ali as an MVP to represent The Champions.  Within this group, other notable athletes who broke barriers on and off the field are also represented: Arthur Ashe, Serena Williams, Joe Louis and Wilma Rudolph. Whether gender or racial discrimination, or even physical illness, The Champion is one whose journey resonates with the masses because they have overcome a great deal to achieve greatness.  The Champion transcends physical prowess and is more than the sum of hours in the gym and relentless training.  The Champion is a conqueror of their inner strength and is one whose focus and sheer will has positioned them to only be defeated by themselves, and not their opponent.  Outside of the ring, a true Champion, exhibits humility and compassion, cares for the community that has birthed and nurtured them and expends their talent and treasure providing their hand as a resource to assist the next generation in their progress.  


Our curriculum has twenty visionaries – writers to visual artists and entrepreneurs to thought agents; all of whom have provided an integral thread in the African American tapestry. If you were adding to this curriculum, how would you decide who to include?  Is there a person you think we should add the curriculum?  Share your thoughts. 



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