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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Florida Educators Defy Governor's Efforts to Curb Black History Education

Photo Credit: Miami New Times

Written by: Ismael Barrios

Marvin Dunn, an 82-year-old activist and retired psychology professor from Florida International University, is leading a tour aimed at educating high school students on Black studies. The tour, called "Teach the Truth," has taken on added significance in response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' efforts to curb such education.

Dunn is one of eight plaintiffs in a complaint against DeSantis' Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, which seeks to ban critical race theory and "indoctrination" in schools. The governor has faced criticism from educators and civil rights activists who argue that such policies will stifle important discussions on race and history.

"Teach the Truth" takes students to key historical sites in Florida, highlighting the contributions of Black people to the state's history. Many believe that efforts like Dunn's are needed to fill gaps in history that may be hidden from students.

While many states, including Florida, have mandated the study of Black history in public schools since 1994, only 11 of Florida's 67 public school districts currently meet the state's criteria for African American instruction. Dunn and others argue that more needs to be done to ensure that students receive a complete and accurate understanding of the past.

According to Dunn, "Teach the Truth" is necessary because the state's curriculum falls short in presenting an honest portrayal of Black history. "We're trying to provide the missing parts of Black history that the schools don't teach," he said.

Dunn is not the only one pushing back against DeSantis' policies. Another professor at Florida International University, Dr. Tameka Hobbs, has been offering her own Black history tours in defiance of the governor's efforts. Hobbs' tours focus on the history of Black people in Miami and highlight the role they played in shaping the city's culture.

Despite the challenges they face, both Dunn and Hobbs are determined to continue their efforts to educate young people on the contributions of Black people to American history. Their organization, "Teach the Truth," is one of many groups across the country working to ensure that students receive a more complete and accurate understanding of the past.

Governor DeSantis' office did not respond to requests for comment on the "Teach the Truth" tour or the complaint filed against his education policies.

The situation in Florida highlights the ongoing debate over how to teach American history in schools, particularly when it comes to the contributions of marginalized groups. While some argue that critical race theory and related concepts are necessary to fully understand American history, others, like Governor DeSantis, believe that such discussions are divisive and harmful to students.

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