NAACP, ACLU condemn Florida ban of AP African American history course

Empty school classroom in cartoon style. Education concept witho
"Gov. DeSantis’ administration continues to find ways to attempt to stifle classroom speech."

Florida’s controversial ban of an African American history course to be offered to Advanced Placement students continues to stoke controversy.

In separate statements, Florida’s branches of the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union are condemning the ban as yet another in a series of plays to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ political base, one made at the expense of not just Black Floridians but all children counting on a comprehensive education.

NAACP President Dr. Adora Obi Nweze, on behalf of the state conference, issued a letter condemning “Governor Ron DeSantis for his abhorrent and ignorant claims that a College Board AP African American History course has no “value.”

“By pandering to those who willfully ignore the truth, Governor DeSantis not only insults Black Floridians, but he also sets a dangerous precedent that undermines the education of our children – particularly Black children,” the letter contends, noting the irony of accepting the AP World History course while rejecting a Black History course out of hand.

“We urge Governor DeSantis and other members of his administration to think carefully about the consequences their actions will have on our future generations – particularly those from marginalized communities who often lack the resources necessary for learning outside what they are taught in school. We implore them to put aside any personal agendas and focus on undoing this wrong by reinstating AP African American History courses in Florida schools as soon as possible,” Nweze writes.

The ACLU statement decries the grounds of the Florida Department of Education’s ban on the course material on the nebulous grounds that it is “contrary to Florida law” and “lacks educational value.” It goes on to contend that the DeSantis administration’s latest encroachment on minority rights and perspectives runs counter to the law itself.

“Gov. DeSantis’ administration continues to find ways to attempt to stifle classroom speech despite the fact that, in November 2022, a federal court blocked the unconstitutional Stop W.O.K.E. Act (HB 7) from being enforced in higher education in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF), and Ballard Spahr on behalf of seven educators and one student,” the ACLU statement asserts.

““The history of Black and brown people who have contributed to our country deserves to be heard and taught to future generations. From the brave heroes who challenged the cruel institution of slavery, like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, to the many civil rights heroes who fought for equality, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks—the history of Black and brown Americans exudes the true spirit of freedom and liberty that is the basis of our democracy,” asserts ACLU-Florida Executive Director Tiffani Lennon.

“It is the lives of these invaluable historical figures and the history of Black and brown Americans that pushes our country to live up to the values enshrined in the Constitution. The reality is that the stories of the Black and brown people who have lived in this country for generations, and who are the founders of this nation as much as anyone else, is American history,” Lennon adds.

There is some evidence that the rollout of the ban was intended as a sop to the Governor’s national political ambitions. The conservative and arguably pro-DeSantis National Review Wednesday first reported that a pilot version of the AP African American Studies would not be offered, though the leak suggested a course “with lawful, historically accurate content” would be acceptable.

Late Friday, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr.tweeted a chart detailing six areas of concern in the AP course. In the part of the course that addresses compensating descendants of slavery, for example, the area of concern is that “all points and resources in this study advocate for reparations. There is no critical perspective or balancing opinion in his lesson.”

Florida Politics’ Anne Geggis contributed reporting.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


8 comments

  • Bill

    January 21, 2023 at 7:59 am

    It’s pretty sad when the government is scared of words on a piece of paper. It’s time for them to get the hell out of peoples personal business perhaps – you know, small government and all that happy stuff.

  • Richard Bruce

    January 21, 2023 at 8:35 am

    False outrage by the usual suspects. The course is being banned, it’s the content of the instruction that is being refused.

    • It is

      January 21, 2023 at 8:48 am

      Same thing.
      Like Republican and criminal being the same word lol

  • Richard Bruce

    January 21, 2023 at 8:37 am

    Auto correct remove “not”. Should read, “The course is not being banned.”

    • cassandra

      January 21, 2023 at 2:12 pm

      Speaking of high school courses, here are a few details of PIPSQUEAK deSantASS’ year teaching at Darlington School: Former students reveal that it was quite a year to remember!

      Inappropriate behavior in class and out of class: Partying with students drinking alcohol, cruel jokes on students, Rona teaching his own personal religious *opinions* on abortion regardless of students’ own religious beliefs, inaccurate history lessons, racial bias, and more.

      Sounds like grooming. Is that what’s behind Desantis’ child & sex obsession? Ron only stayed at Darlington for one school-year…hmmmm..why was that? Is that what t-Rump knows??

  • Frankie M.

    January 21, 2023 at 9:05 am

    So a day after MLK day the state of FL bans this trial course from being taught in FL high schools? I don’t believe this is a coincidence but hey keep tweeting out those MLK quotes. These “woke” conservatives get so butthurt when you say something that challenges their sanitized version of history. How is this not indoctrination again?

  • Elliott Offen

    January 21, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    The right wing uses religion, anti-government propaganda, and lies by omission to achieve their means. No other teachings are allowed. What kind of freedom is this? Freedom for the right wing and of course freedom for the rich and freedom t-shirts for everyone else.

    • cassandra

      January 22, 2023 at 11:53 am

      Does that ‘Freedom T-shirt’ come in size: Girls’ Small Maternity?

Comments are closed.


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