USU Football Players Create Accredited African American History Class

Sep 2, 2020, 7:02 PM | Updated: Sep 3, 2020, 2:11 pm

LOGAN, UTAH – As people across the country call for racial equality, a group of football players at Utah State University took a different approach to speak out by creating a new history class.

The students organized it in just a few weeks.

The class will explore what they call, the “Untold Truths of African Inequality in the United States.”

It starts Wednesday night and is fully accredited by the university. The course is designed to give students an added perspective that they may not have had before.

“This is huge. This doesn’t happen a lot,” said USU graduate assistant coach Jumanne Robertson.

Jumanne Robertson, USU graduate assistant

The players may not be able to leave their mark on the field this fall, so now they hope their legacy will be in the classroom, looking at the way things are now and the way they’ve been in the past.

“A lot of things come to light nowadays that 40 years ago probably were just on the surface. If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t know it,” said defensive back Andre Grayson.

The class will include current tensions that have followed the shooting of Jacob Blake and the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

“I think it’s big time that discussions are happening, that people are standing up and finally realizing that change needs to happen,” Grayson said.

This subject matter also has meaning to players like Chase Nelson, a USU running back.

USU Running Back Chase Nelson

“I feel like I’ve taken the role as a listener, and I’ve tried to open my eyes, ears, and heart to the stories of my African American teammates and brothers and that people of color have to tell,” he said.

Professor Ross Peterson is teaching the class. He said the team came to him.

The course will not only look back on our nation’s history, but it will also explore issues we see today like athletes who have been criticized for standing up or taking a knee.

USU professor F. Ross Peterson

“That’s part of the Untold Truths, the things that you see on the news tonight,” Peterson said. “They’re precedents, they’re foundations, they’re building blocks.”

It’s something that makes coaches like Robertson proud of his players.

“We kind of wanted to dig deep into it, from looking at it from multiple lenses from the beginning to current, and to discover in between why things are the way they are now,” said Robertson.

The players said this all came out of a discussion started by USU football head coach Gary Andersen, and they just ran with it.

So far, about 75 people have enrolled in the class. Credits will count toward the general education requirement.

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USU Football Players Create Accredited African American History Class