Lois the Pie Queen’s decades-long staying power in the community made it the ideal first stop during a high school field trip tour of historic Black sites in Oakland.

On Monday, Tony Green, a teacher at Bishop O’Dowd High School, led the field trip for a group of juniors and seniors enrolled in his Advanced Placement African American Studies class.

Throughout the year, Green said he’s taught his students about the wealth gap, redlining and gentrification.

“It’s meaningful because it’s an attempt at telling the actual truth about African Americans and their relationship with the rest of the world,” said Green, who’s been teaching a version of the class for 32 years.

Christian Colbert, a junior, said Green’s teaching style — which aims not only to explain historical facts, but to also show how they’re interconnected across time — resonated with him.

“I just feel like a lot of history classes are just like bits and pieces of history,” he said. “Classes like these, kind of give you the whole thing, from like, ancient in Mali, to like, all the way to the Black Panthers.”

Bishop O’Dowd, a Catholic school, is among 60 schools in the U.S. currently piloting the College Board AP African American Studies curriculum — which covers early African societies, the slave trade and the history of resistance and resilience in the U.S.

Recently, the curriculum became part of a national political debate around teaching history in schools. The focus on topics such as Black feminism, among others, is one of the reasons why Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis initially refused to offer the course in schools in that state.

California has also had its share of discussions around social studies requirements. Starting with the class of 2030, a new law mandates all high school students in the Golden State complete a semester of ethnic studies — in part to help students of color see themselves reflected.

“History is mainly white history,” said Catherine Gholamipour, a student in Green’s class. “You don’t get a ton of exposure to stuff like this in other classes.”

Her peer Nartan Farucht, a senior, echoed the importance of a class that fills in the gaps of other social studies classes.

“You can’t actually talk about the way we built our government, where we built our cities, we built our schools, without talking about the slave trade and the people who actually built these locations on their backs,” Farucht said….

Full story at KQED