LAUSD’s Black Student Achievement Plan stresses the importance of Black history and culture.  

Irvin Davis, an educator and assistant football coach at Dorsey High School, recently outlined the new initiative to the L.A. Sentinel.  

Davis has been teaching Social Studies and Black History at Dorsey High School in LAUSD for 32 years. (Courtesy photo)

 “The (BSAP) came about because of the needs of the Black students in term of low-test scores and the initiative provides the students with relevant and culture relevant lessons and social and emotional support and the needs of the black students are addressed. The LAUSD approved the (BSAP) in February 2020-2021,” Davis explained, and funding has been allocated to address the disparities experienced by Black Students. 

 “Those who oppose Black history being taught want to present a watered-down version of Black history.  Some who committed these harmful actions find it offensive to be shown in a negative light. Students need to see the Black history and make their own decision,” he said, and added,  

 “Black history is for all to learn whether they are Hispanic, Caucasian, [or] Asian.  Many of these races, including Black, don’t know their own history.” 

rvin Davis using literature and artifacts to teach students about Civil Rights for Blacks. (Courtesy photo)

Davis also proudly announced the new AP African American Studies course at Dorsey. While he is not the class instructor, he was previously a guest speaker. The AP course gives students an opportunity to receive college credits. 

Davis instructing students about Improving Relationships with Law Enforcement. (Courtesy photo)

 During a tour of his classroom, Davis displayed some of his lessons and shared, “The biggest challenge is deciding what to teach and what to leave out. We want to tell our own story about our own history.”  

 Describing the content of his classes, Davis said he covers the origin of mankind, Transatlantic slave trade, the theory of White Supremacy, and institutionalized racism.  Other topics include slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th amendment, Harlem Renaissance, and Black Los Angeles.   

 Davis also likes to touch on the Black heroes of the Civil Rights Era such as Muhammad Ali, Emmett Till and those of the modern era like Colin Kaepernick, Barack Obama, LeBron James and Nipsey Hussle. 

 Davis does teach about some issues that for some are hard to look at such as the Transatlantic Slave trade, which occurred from 1515 to 1808.  During that period, between 15 to 25 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic Ocean and enslaved to work on plantations in Americas.  

Davis guiding students through a lesson about Inner-City Teenage High School Culture. (Courtesy photo)

In his teaching, Davis points out that 15% of the enslaved people died on the coast and 15% died in the Middle Passage or the voyage from Africa to America, which took 8-12 weeks. 

 According to Davis’s Black history presentation, African slaves worked on plantations in the South for about 300 years with no pay, farming sugar, tobacco and cotton.  He said, “The African culture, language, religion and identity were stripped away. 

Davis giving individualized instruction during a lesson about Political Empowerment in the Black community. (Courtesy photo)

  “Now in 2023 is a chance for our youth from all cultures to learn about Black history to see where Blacks have come from and what is hoped for the future so people do not repeat the same mistakes as their forefathers. Black students can be proud of our rich history that includes many achievements. From our colorful fashions to our Hip Hop Music, sports and arts, entertainment and our many inventions,” insisted Davis.  

 A Dorsey alumni and teacher at the school for 32 years, Davis graduated from the University of Southern Californina with a Bachelor’s degree, and he then earned an emergency credential to teach at Dorsey. He went on to received a Master’s of Science degree in Educational Leadership and Educational Administration from Pepperdine University.  

 Davis is also a member of 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, Inc., where members mentor young men, ages 11 to 17.  He said that some of the subjects taught to the mentees include treating woman with respect, financial literacy, car repair, career readiness, healthy eating, and safe, appropriate conduct when approached or encountering law enforcement officers.