‘Stop the Black Attack’ rally held inside the Florida Capitol in response to AP African American Studies denial

Prominent civil-rights attorney Ben Crump on Wednesday threatened to sue Governor Ron DeSantis over the state’s rejection of an African American studies course
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 12:09 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Following the state of Florida’s rejection of a new AP African American Studies course, Black elected officials, activists, and the community are holding a rally inside on Wednesday the Florida Capitol building in protest of the decision.

Leading chants of “Black history is American history,” prominent civil-rights attorney Ben Crump on Wednesday threatened to sue Governor Ron DeSantis over the state’s rejection of an African American studies course. Several lawmakers and other Black leaders joined Crump at the state capitol to protest a decision by the DeSantis administration to prevent a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies from being offered in Florida schools.

Earlier this month, the state Department of Education sent a letter advising a senior director at The College Board that the Advanced Placement course won’t be offered in Florida public schools. The College Board develops Advanced Placement courses. Crump told a crowd of more than 100 people that it’s not up to the governor to decide what is taught in Florida classrooms.

“Everybody who is here in America, you have a right to have your culture, your history respected and taught to the children,” said Crump. “The question really is this, brothers and sisters. Are we going to let Governor DeSantis, or anybody, exterminate Black history from the classrooms in Florida?”

During a news conference in Jacksonville on Monday, DeSantis defended the rejection of the course, which has drawn national media coverage in recent days and criticism from the Biden administration. The administration argued it violated Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act.”

“We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them. When you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” DeSantis said.

The Department of Education last week published a list of concerns found within the course and focused on five topics: “intersectionality and activism,” “Black queer studies,” “movements for Black lives,” “the reparations movement” and “Black study and Black struggle in the 21st Century.”

Other speakers at the rally included American Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns, Minority Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell, Rep. Dianne Hart (D-61), and other local elected officials and national leaders. Driskell says there is no need to change the content of the AP class in question, simply to appease DeSantis.

“We’ve been told that this AP African American history course will be altered and resubmitted, and most likely they’ll make enough changes for the governor to approve it, but at what cost?” said Driskell. “Are we really okay with Ron DeSantis deciding what is acceptable”?

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