Gov. Ron DeSantis’ rejection of an Advanced Placement pilot course on African American studies elicited a resounding response from a crowd of at least a hundred people gathered in the state Capitol Wednesday, praying and loudly chanting about the importance of protecting Black history taught in Florida’s public schools.
Some held signs that read “Black history is American History” and “Stop the Black Attack,” sending a message to the DeSantis administration to implement the course.
Advocates from across the nation on Wednesday joined the Florida Legislative Black Caucus and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is poised to take legal action if the course is not implemented.
Crump, who is known for representing the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, said three young students in high school in Florida will be named as the lead plaintiffs, should a lawsuit be filed by his law firm. Those three students joined Crump at the press conference Wednesday.
“We have to remember that it’s so important, this cause, this fight. So much is at stake,” Crump said.
“We’re here to give notice to Governor DeSantis that if he does not negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African American studies to be taught in the classrooms across the state of Florida, that these three young people will be the lead plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit.”
“And you all need to remember their names because it’s their courageous tenacity and their intellect, that reminds me many of the examples that were shown to the world by a young John Lewis.”
Crump added: “What this is really about is saying you cannot exterminate us. You cannot exterminate our culture. … Gov. DeSantis are you really trying to lead us to an era akin to communism?”
On Jan. 12, the state Board of Education sent a letter to the nonprofit College Board to notify the organization that the state would not implement a pilot program for AP African American studies for high school students to earn college credit. “As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the Jan. 12 letter said, as previously reported by the Florida Phoenix.
The history of African Americans is considered required instruction under Florida law. And AP classes, from the College Board, allow high school students to earn credits for college classes.
The decision by the state drew criticism from the Black Caucus and other Democrats.
House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell of Hillsborough County said at Wednesday’s press conference that DeSantis is “undermining the rights of parents and students to make their own decisions.”
“Black history is American history,” Driskell said. “Are we really okay with Ron DeSantis deciding what’s acceptable for students across the country. How is it politics to talk about the struggles we endured. The truth is the truth.”
“But we know to truly love our country is to bravely face our history,” she said, as the crowd chanted because “united we stand!”
State Sen. Geraldine Thompson of Orange County said during the press event: “What time is it? “It’s time out for hypocrisy!”
“We are told by Ron DeSantis that this time of history has no educational value. ..If it’s not taught then someone needs to be held accountable.”
Jerome White, of the College Board Communications, didn’t answer a question about details surrounding DeSantis’ rejection of the course.
But White said Wednesday in an email: “On Wednesday, February 1, the first day of Black History Month, the Advanced Placement Program will release the official framework for the AP African American Studies course. This framework, under development since March 2022, replaces the preliminary pilot course framework under discussion to date.
“Before a new AP course is made broadly available, it is piloted in a small number of high schools to gather feedback from high schools and colleges. The official course framework incorporates this feedback and defines what students will encounter on the AP Exam for college credit and placement.
“We are grateful for the contributions of experts, teachers, and students and look forward to sharing the framework broadly.”
Meanwhile, Alex Lanfranconi, director of communications for the Florida Department of Education, responded to a statement Wednesday released from the College Board. It’s not clear if the Jerome White statement from the College Board is connected to the statement that Lanfranconi provided to the Phoenix.
Nevertheless, here is the DOE statement:
“We are glad the College Board has recognized that the originally submitted course curriculum is problematic, and we are encouraged to see the College Board express a willingness to amend. AP courses are standardized nationwide, and as a result of Florida’s strong stance against identity politics and indoctrination, students across the country will consequentially have access to an historically accurate, unbiased course.
“As Governor DeSantis said, African American History is American History, and we will not allow any organization to use an academic course as a gateway for indoctrination and a political agenda. We look forward to reviewing the College Board’s changes and expect the removal of content on Critical Race Theory, Black Queer Studies, Intersectionality and other topics that violate our laws.”
–Issac Morgan, with Danielle J. Brown, Florida Phoenix
Brandon Cross says
The DOE’s response seems plausible.
Our state sponsored education should represent all factions of our state’s students and not be sectarian.
“at least a hundred people” WOW
Suppression? That’s a joke. Show me where being queen is part of black history.
Your governor is lying, he did not even read the coursework. Maybe you should read it before commenting.
Steve Robinson says
The College Board’s strategy–announcing revisions to the curriculum of the AP African American History course–is a small bit of genius. The Board must know that DeSantis will reject whatever Black history curriculum the Board comes up, confirming what they, and most of us, already know–that the governor of the nation’s third-largest state is an unapologetic racist. Andrew Gillum had it about half-right back in 2018, when he said, “Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.” Along with the rest of us.
Who is “the rest of us?” (speak for thee not for we)
Steve, 100% on point!
I am part of the rest of us.
Will c what happens.
Brian Riehle says
DeSantis wants to be in that Southern Governors Hall of Fame with George Wallace, Lester Maddox and Orville Faubis.
“at least a hundred people” WOW!
What Else Is New says
Governor Ron DeSantis proves he is racist.
Brandon Cross says
Please explain to me… just how has he proven to be a racist?
Been There says
and it is begins… In a speech by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez on Tuesday to the State Board of Governors, she state that Florida will be looking to “curb” diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the state’s colleges and univesities.
“These new threats that are creeping and taking hold are things that we need to face,” she said. “I believe one of the biggest threats that’s infiltrating our universities is a permeating culture — one might call it woke culture, one might call it woke ideology, one might call it identity politics…. We don’t need to get into all the names, but I do believe that some of these issues are taking hold. The policies they advocate are based on hate and based on indoctrination.”
Are you kidding me?!!! Well, we know the type of individual the state’s schools will be graduating in the future. This is the Koch movement that DeSantis, Renner and the rest are riding on to propegate a population that are fully indoctrinated to accept the demoliton of our democracy once they declare war on anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the far right dogma.
Brandon Cross says
Equity vs Equality…
Do you know the difference?
I am all for Equality…
Equity not so much because everyone is not treated equally.
Elizabeth Hartopp says
Read the syllabus!!! What does “black queer theory” and abolishing prisons have to do with African American History?
That is not in the syllabus, maybe you should read it.
moderate repub against DeSantis says
Have you considered that there are black queer people who live in America, and maybe, they have a history here? You can Google “Stonewall riots” and you’ll find some interesting facts. Alternatively, maybe there are prisons in America, and those also might also have a history, one that includes jailing black people at disproportionately higher rates than white Americans who commit the same crimes. Just a guess though.
It’s relevant to teach because the teaching would acknowledge that current LGBT rights such as marriage equality can be traced back to pride movements of the 78s and 80s which can be traced back to the Stonewall Riots. And it was black gay and trans individuals who were integral to Stonewall and the subsequent pride movements. It sounds like you object to the concept of any history of queer people being told.
Common sense says
There are black queers.
Prisons in the US were used to incarcerate African Americans at a higher rate than non blacks. The prison system is designed to harm the black and POC communities by selective enforcement and false, racially inspired arrests all over the racist US South.
Bill C says
DeSantis is whitewashing black history.
READ THE SYLLABUS before you rant!
White Knight says
Oh, but they take down OUR White History by removing Confederate Statues. And changing the names of Schools from ” George Washington High School to ” Wantanza Zulu High “.
Trump / DeSantis 2024
Ron The Closet Case says
Now that he is putting himself out there dirt about him keeps leaking out. One day the bombshell will drop – he’s a closet case. I’m certain. Casey is his beard. No one hates gays as much as closeted gays. It’s a fact. I mean the guy pals around with men that are engaged in sex trafficking, sexual assault (of men and women), all sorts of fraud and criminal activity. You are the company you keep and his is ugly.
DeSantis is overstepping. He knows it. They are dog whistles to the uneducated, to the hateful Nazis in his corner. Any legal challenge will overturn ALL of his draconian laws of overreach, including book bans, drag bans, don’t say gay, and others. He’s nothing but a wannabe but he lacks one thing almost all tyrants possess – charisma. That’s why they win. They can win over people from both sides. He doesn’t stand a chance on the big stage. He will be ripped apart and thrown to the wolves and I cannot wait for his downfall. The man is scum. This world is better than him and he knows it, why do you think he is whiny all the time? The majority do not support fascism. They do not support large government overreach. They do not want government in their homes, their bedrooms, or meddling in their lives. This is about one thing with him. White man’s last gasp. His generation is the least successful of any and he is angry. Well boo who. Cry more Ron. It would be so much easier if you just game out. Look at what Matt Gaetz is going through. Such stuff and things so unnecessary.
The ORIGINAL land of no turn signals says
All the monuments,statues,real estate names for certain rooms all part of black history? What is this pick and choose? Should be all or nothing.
CRT can be taught at home. If you want to teach your children about their heritage whatever that may be, teach them at home, don’t waste everyone else’s time. I appreciate Governor DeSantis caring enough about everyone’s educational needs. Math, Sciences, basic history, that’s good enough. We need to focus on the basic’s. This country is so far behind in the Math and Science areas. Enough bashing the Governor. He cares about his state, if you don’t like the way he runs his state then move. Please just move away. I’m sure California or New York would love to have you. Grow up, and stop complaining so much. If you want to know what kind of person you need to be in this world go talk to anyone 80 and over. They grew up in tough times, they made due, if it was broke they fixed it, if there was a problem they pulled together with their neighbors, and helped out the best way they could. If they couldn’t afford something, they worked extra hours, and saved their money to afford it. What happened to those basic good qualities people use to have.
And those 80 and over lived through this history and will tell you the stories of it. I don’t believe in taking all the statues down and removal of historical things but what happened is history and it should be taught. I’m not moving anywhere. I was here before DuhSantis was born. He can move. I’m here, I’m republican but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever vote for him! He’s a disgrace!
Moderate Conservative says
I don’t understand what these republicans are worried about. I’ve taken a lot of courses in undergrad where I learned about black queerness, reparations, etc., and I didn’t walk away “indoctrinated.” I learned a lot about the OBJECTIVE HISTORY of blacks in America, something that DeSantis seems to have an issue with, and I learned to emphasize with people’s perspectives on that history. I don’t believe in a lot of what some of these theories propose, but that doesn’t mean it was a waste of my time to learn about them. Just made me better prepared to engage with these and other ideas. Your kids are smart enough to take a college class and simultaneously too stupid to think for themselves?
Moderate Conservative: Thank you!