A Jacksonville Democrat on a board that helped to formulate controversial new Black history standards is rejecting the product that came out of it.
In a statement, Rep. Kimberly Daniels rejected the work product of the African American History Task Force, to which she was appointed by Florida Commissioner of Education, Manny Diaz.
Specifically, the Jacksonville legislator noted she “never participated in any conversation about the state’s Black history standards,” which include an assertion that slavery had “benefits” for the enslaved.
“In fact, I was never consulted about these standards, I disagree with and would have immediately challenged and resisted any notion that slavery was a benefit to African Americans,” Daniels said, before pointing to her own history.
“I am a Black woman who was born in the early 1960s. I understand the atrocities of racial oppression and Jim Crow. I lived it,” Daniels said, before turning her attention to a statement she made years ago that was attributed to her.
“The ‘Thank God for Slavery‘ political ploy was taken out of context from a message I preached 15 years ago,” asserted Daniels, who is an evangelist.
“The message was not about slavery but about overcoming obstacles in life as a believer of Jesus Christ. Taking it out of that setting and putting it in any other context is simply slanderous.”
Daniels’ comments come in the wake of Vice President Kamala Harris visiting Jacksonville to denounce the DeSantis administration’s newly adopted standards at the historic Ritz Theater in LaVilla. Harris criticized the DeSantis administration for imposing standards that include teaching middle school students “enslaved people benefited from slavery” and high school students that the victims of racially motivated massacres were somehow also perpetrators.
In Utah Friday for a presidential campaign stop, DeSantis distanced himself from the creation of the standards his administration fostered, advising reporters to ask the Florida Board of Education about them. But he defended the process and the product.
DeSantis said the Board “got a lot of scholars together to do a lot of standards and a lot of different things,” creating what he called “the most robust standards in African American history probably anywhere in the country.”
Describing the standards as “very thorough, very factual,” DeSantis even defended the inclusion of curriculum that claimed enslaved people benefited from slavery at one point.
“I think what they’re doing is I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,” DeSantis said.