BY LOUIS C. WARD
The Democratic Black Caucus of Florida (DBCF) vehemently repudiates the recently approved Florida Department of Education’s curriculum for teaching about slavery to middle school students, said Trevor Mallory, President of the DBCF. “To teach our middle school students that enslaved people developed skills which could be applied for their personal benefit is a major attack on the truth about the institution of slavery in the United States. Slavery in Florida, was a very evil period of American history with flagrant violations of human rights against Black people.”
The controversial curriculum, which Florida’s Department of Education passed on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, has immediately sparked a large contingent of criticism from organizations like the NAACP, The Education Association, a statewide teacher union, and some Florida’s elected representatives.
President Mallory said this is systemic racism in its purest form. The move is orchestrated by political operatives who continue to push a right-wing extremist agenda to further divide our country instead of working to heal it. “Our schools must teach the full truth of the history of America – the good and the bad.
“Yet these rightwing Floridians still continue to follow Governor Ron DeSantis’ political agenda of the “Stop WOKE act”, banning books, and autocracy,” President Mallory emphatically stated. “If we turn the situation of slavery around and white people were enslaved and their women were raped, their men lynch, beaten, treated unfairly as property owned by someone, would you say that you benefitted personally?” President Mallory asked.
Enslaved Black people created skills during their subjugation. And the skills they created were mainly for the benefit to survive. Such skills included strategically knowing how and when to appease their white master to secretly accomplish certain goals and objectives such as being able to worship and pray, being able to get food to feed their families, to educate themselves, to hold meetings, to escape for freedom.
Christina Forrest, 1st Vice President of DBCF, said, I am grateful for Vice President Harris and the Biden administration for speaking to the urgency of this matter. Vice President Harris speaking in Jacksonville on Friday is exactly what Florida needed. Vice President Harris stated, “Adults know what slavery really involved. It involved rape. It involved torture. It involved taking a baby from their mother. It involved some of the worst examples of depriving people of humanity in our world. It involved subjecting to people the requirement that they would think of themselves and be thought of as less than human. So, in the context of that, how is it that anyone could suggest that in the midst of these atrocities, that there was any benefit to being subjected to this level of dehumanization? In the midst of these atrocities was there some benefit?”
“We, the DBCF, will support and work with all organizations, individuals advocating against the right-wing’s agenda to not teach the truth about the history of America to all Florida’s students from elementary, middle, high schools and college. For anyone to say or believe Black people learned skills and benefited from slavery is contrary to nature, reason, or common sense,” concluded President Mallory.