As February marks Black History Month, a group of Democratic lawmakers has introduced the African American History Act as they claim states are “purposefully” removing Black history from school curriculums.
The group of Democrats, led by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, cited Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent announcement blocking an Advanced Placement course teaching Black history from being taught in Florida high schools.
“The story of Black people in America is inextricably linked to the story of America. The fullness of this rich history must be told -- both its dark chapters and the light brought by generations of people determined to overcome and make our country better through an ongoing quest for justice,” said Booker. “We have seen this happen far too many times throughout history – where some dismiss our important stories and intentionally change the way history is told to fit political agendas. As we begin Black History Month, I am proud to reintroduce this legislation.”
Advocates for the legislation said it would invest $10 million over five years in the National Museum of African American History and Culture to support programs that are voluntarily available for students, parents, and educators.
Other Democrats have wanted to go a step further.
Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio introduced the Black History is American History Act. Her bill would require entities applying for and receiving grants through the Presidential and Congressional Academies to include Black history as part of the American history and civics-related workshops and teachings for educators and students, she said.
DeSantis has said Florida schools currently allow the teaching of Black history but took issue with certain aspects of the framework of the new Advanced Placement course. The course, which the College Board is developing, is undergoing a review process.
“This course is an unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture,” said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board. “No one is excluded from this course: the Black artists and inventors whose achievements have come to light; the Black women and men, including gay Americans, who played pivotal roles in the civil rights movement; and people of faith from all backgrounds who contributed to the antislavery and civil rights causes. Everyone is seen.”