African American Studies Class Delves Into Rich History


Kaylyn Hagedorn, Multimedia Staff

“All great achievements require time.” -Maya Angelou

February isn’t just the month of love. Many people forget that this month is dedicated to the rich history of African Americans. Let’s take a moment with Mrs. Madsen, who teaches GRC’s African American Studies class, to appreciate this month of learning.


Q: How long has the class been available?

A: I started it at the old GRC about six years ago.


Q: What makes you interested in African American history?
A: When I was at U.K., which I’m still a student there, but when I was a graduate student in the
department of history I had a professor, Dr. Fon Gordon, and I took as many African American history classes as I could under her. She was a great professor and that’s how I got interested.


Q: Why do you think it’s important to offer a class like this?
A: Well the African American history is such a rich history and often times in the U.S history book it might let you know a little bit of information about Harriet Tubman and maybe Martin Luther King, Jr., but we don’t have enough in the history books about African American history. Since I also teach U.S. history, I infuse a lot of African American history into my regular U.S. history class, but in terms of a stand alone course I think it’s an interesting history. Students sign up for it. I think I have almost 40 kids, so students seem to like it.


Q: How do you hope this class grows in upcoming years?
A: Well, this year we are doing a lot for Black History Month. We are doing a ton of projects, I’ve got a guest speaker coming at the end of February, and I’ve had a guest speaker from the community come in. I know there are some great interesting leagues in Winchester developing a Winchester black history book of some sort. I’ve been approached by the people of the community to perhaps have my students do some research to contribute to the book.


Q: What are some of your favorite activities the class has participated in?
A: Well, for black history month we decorate the teachers’ doors with famous African American pictures and information. That’s always a good one. We are having a scavenger hunt around the school where we are going to post information about historical black colleges and universities and kids can find those posters and win prizes, so those are a few things I’m doing this month.