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Over the course of 50 episodes, we're going to learn about Black American History. Clint Smith will to teach you about the experience of Black people in America, from the arrival of the first enslaved Black people who arrived at Jamestown all the way to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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#crashcourse #Black #history
Hi there, I’m Clint Smith and I am the host  of Crash Course Black American History.

I am a   writer, a teacher, and a doctor. No, not the kind  who can help you if you have a serious medical   issue, more like the kind who spent too many years  holed up in the basement of the library reading   books on race, inequality, education, and history  before getting the letters PhD behind my name.   So, while I can’t perform open heart surgery,  I can tell you a lot about how slavery shaped   the course of American History and the  ways it’s been taught in our schools..   This series, will move from the moment enslaved  Black people first arrived on the shores of the  .

American British colonies in 1619, all the way  through the Black Lives Matter movement that   has pushed this country to more fully reckon  with all that it has done to Black people   and to more fully acknowledge all that Black  Americans have contributed to its history.   We should probably begin by addressing the  name of this course itself, Black American  . History. Over the course of American history  the language used to describe Black people has   changed and evolved over time and will no doubt  continue to change and evolve moving forward.   Across the United States today, the terms  “Black” and “African-American” are often used   interchangeably and there’s a good chance that  we’ll use them interchangeably here as well.   Typically, African-American is meant to refer to  people of African descent who were born in, or are   living in, the United States.

In the U. S., there  are Black people whose ancestors were enslaved   many generations ago and who are unable to trace  their history to a specific place of origin,   and there are Black people who immigrated  to the United States just a few years ago   from countries all over the world. While people’s histories and experiences   may be different, each of these groups  of people, and everyone in between,   is Black.

And that plurality of experiences is  both a remarkable and just a beautiful thing.   As we’ll discover, there is a great deal of  fluidity with regard to how these terms are used   and who they apply to, and delving into this will  really help us understand how race is a social   construct, but also one with very real cultural,  sociological, and political implications.   Part of why this show is so important to  me personally, is that when I was younger,  . I felt like I didn’t have the language or the  toolkit, with which to fully understand and   make sense of what this country had done to  Black people over the course of centuries.   I didn’t know that 12 of our first  18 presidents owned enslaved people.   I didn’t have the language to understand  how redlining and government-sponsored   housing segregation shaped the landscape  of contemporary America. I didn’t know that   New Deal legislation and the GI Bill after World  War II purposefully left out millions of Black   people from accessing its benefits, basically  trapping them in intergenerational poverty,   while millions of white Americans received  those benefits, giving them a leg up into   purchasing homes, attending and graduating  college, and moving comfortably into the   middle class.

The sorts of things that have  long-term, intergenerational implications.   I didn’t know these things, because no one  told me. No one taught us this in school.   And when I did learn it many years later, it  was so important--it was so freeing--because   it helped me better understand why our  country looks the way that it does today.   It helped me understand that the disparities Black  people experience in this country, are not because   there is anything wrong with Black people,  but because of everything that has been done   to Black people over the course of generations. Now it should be said that, sometimes, when people   think of Black history, they think only of slavery  and oppression.

And while slavery is deeply   deeply important (trust me I wrote a whole book  about it) to understanding how Black Americans   first arrived here en masse, how the United  States developed its early economy, and why so   much inequality persists between Black and white  Americans across the board , it would be a mistake   to conflate the story of Black life in this  country singularly with the issue of slavery.   Which is to say, naming the centrality of  slavery to the American project can be done   without falling into the trap of  suggesting that Black History begins   and ends with slavery. Black History is more  than slavery, it is more than Jim Crow apartheid,   it is more than oppression. And while we  will obviously be addressing these issues   because they are central to understanding  how this country came to be what it is,   we will also be talking about Black art,  Black literature, Black cultural traditions,   and all that Black people have created  and accomplished /in spite of/ centuries   of both interpersonal and structural violence.

Black American history is as much about the joys   and celebrations and traditions of Black life,  as much as it is about being able to name and   identify the ways this country has long subjugated  Black people. They are not mutually exclusive,   in fact they go hand in hand. That being said, we want to note   that this series will address topics that can  be challenging to discuss, but we believe it is   important to cover them thoroughly so that we can  fully grapple with the reality of US History.   When watching this course, you will encounter  some information that may be sensitive   and disturbing.

But we will also try to  let you know when there are extreme cases.   Over the course of this show, we will do our  very best to capture the various dimensions of   the Black experience, but because we only have  50 episodes to tell these stories, there will   inevitably be some things that are left out. This show is not meant to be a definitive   history of Black American life, it is meant to  be one contribution to a much wider conversation   that has been happening among scholars, writers,  activists, and citizens for generations.   There’s going to be a lot to learn over the  course of this show, and a lot to unlearn.   But what we hope you come to understand is  that Black history is not /peripheral/ to  . American history, it is central to it.

Black  history is American history. So let’s go.   Crash Course is made with the  help of all these nice people   and our animation team is Thought Cafe. Crash Course is a Complexly production.   If you’d like to keep Crash Course free  for everybody, forever, you can support   the series at Patreon; a crowdfunding platform  that allows you to support the content you love.   Thank you to all of our patrons for making Crash  Course possible with their continued support.