RPS to offer new ‘Real Richmond History’ course this fall

Updated: Jul. 7, 2020 at 10:11 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools will be offering a new course this fall to students called “Real Richmond History.”

Superintendent Jason Kamras says for more than a year, school leaders, historians and community leaders have been working on the course.

“Everything that is going on right now with the Black Lives Matter movement, the removal of Confederate statues - this didn’t just come out of nowhere, there is a long history leading up to them and I want kids to know that history and to know what their place can be in that history,” Kamras said.

Students will learn the reason why the monuments are being removed, along with the history of the River City that hasn’t been taught before. He says what happens after the monuments are removed, and the teaching that takes place, is what’s most critical for students.

“We’re going to tell the good, the bad and the ugly about the history of Richmond so that our young people and our staff know the story of Richmond and understand why we are where we are today,” Kamras said.

It will possibly be a required course for high school students and all RPS staff.

“This is designed to be a classroom in the city experience,” he explained. “Really this is about getting out and experiencing these places we have and meeting with people who represent this history as well.”

An example of students “getting out and experiencing places,” would be a trip to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center where this is a replica of the lunch counter where members of the Richmond 34 held a sit-in in 1960. There are several members of the Richmond 34 still living and active in social justice.

“Imagine our kids learning about that, with members of the Richmond 34 sitting all together,” he said.

While it’s still unknown how schools will operate due to the pandemic, Kamras says the course will be offered either in person or online.

“I’ve often said if we just teach kids to read and do math we will have failed, we need to teach them how to change the world,” said Kamras.

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