BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A new series of courses focusing on the history of the Farm Worker Movement may be coming to Bakersfield College soon. “Landmarks in California History” is the name of the proposed course. Officials at BC discussed adding the course to the curriculum last week.
The course is designed as an introduction to local historic landmark sites in the southern San Joaquin Valley area. It also includes California farm labor history, as well as the history of farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond, all of which are associated with the leadership of Cesar Chavez and the California Farm Worker Movement.
Oliver Rosales, Professor of History at Bakersfield College, adds that part of the coursework would be for students to physically visit various sites relevant to California history, including the Filipino Hall in Delano, The 40 Acres in Delano, and also the National Chavez Center.
“This course proposal really has those developments in mind, because Bakersfield College can be at the forefront of making sure that students in this community can access the history of their grandparents, their aunts, their uncles, their communities, and they don’t have to go to Washington DC to access it. They can access it here,” said Rosales. “It also helps shape those narratives for this country.”
Rosales attended the meeting last week where the BC Curriculum Committee approved the proposed course sequence, and says he believes the courses are important because they would provide accessible history to the students.
“Ii think it’s important because of several reasons,” said Rosales. “Number one; Bakersfield, Kern County, and the San Joaquin Valley was the epicenter of labor and civil rights history in California and the American West. This is an exciting opportunity for Bakersfield College to be at the forefront of public history education of Latino heritage and the history of the Farm Worker Movement.”
Other people in the community also voiced their opinions about the motion to approve the new course during the meeting.
“I want to see that BC continues with this great modeling of education. History is what we all are,” said one. “We all have experienced history.”
“It’s not just local history,” said another. “It is national history, Central Valley history.”
As of last week, the vote by the BC Curriculum Committee will be sent to the Kern County College District Board of Trustees for final approval.