Aug 16, 2023 - Education

Activists to march, opposing Florida's new Black history teachings

Historian Marvin Dunn in 2021. Photo: Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Historian and activist Marvin Dunn will lead a "Teach No Lies" march Wednesday to protest Florida's new K–12 curriculum standards covering Black history and how slavery is taught.

Why it matters: New state social studies standards going into effect this year require that middle school children be taught "how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit." Experts say that amounts to whitewashing history and the evils of slavery.

  • Students will also learn "how slavery was utilized in Asian, European and African cultures" and about the "resiliency" of African Americans.

What's happening: Protestors plan to assemble on the street near Booker T. High School and march to the School Board administration building, where several people will give speeches.

  • "Our demand is: Don't teach lies to our students," Dunn tells Axios. "We do not want our children taught lies about enslavement and about Black history."
  • Dunn tells Axios he expects hundreds of people to attend, including members of the Teamsters National Black Caucus, who are in Miami for a conference.
  • Dunn doesn't expect many current teachers to participate because they are preparing for classes to start Thursday.

What they're saying: Dunn — a former naval officer, retired FIU professor, author and co-founder of the Miami Center for Racial Justice — tells Axios he organized the march "because education is going to hell under DeSantis. Because we're now subject to education gangsterism by this man, and it must be stopped."

  • "W​​e are not protesting our school board," he says. "This is about the state standards that we find so offensive."

The other side: Florida Education Commissioner Manny Díaz has said the new standards represent "the good, bad and ugly in American history."


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