In March 2023, the National Education Association (NEA) reported that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis planned to drastically limit what can be taught in grade school and colleges, particularly Black history. I kept a lookout on this because Florida has a lot of rarely explained Black history per Dr. Claud Anderson's books. Those wishing to deep dive into Florida's Black history should check out Dr. Marvin Dunn and his book "A History of Florida: Through Black Eyes." At the end of July, I heard troubling updates to the story.
Slavery Did Not Benefit Africans
After hearing occasional updates, I found that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had issued a formal travel advisory for Blacks regarding the sunshine state.
"Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color."
Then came the big hit. The Florida Board of Education approved teaching kids that slavery provided personal benefits to Blacks. They later doubled down by listing examples, but many of them were actually never slaves or learned their skills outside of slavery. It's a monumental gaslight with a strong seasoning of ignorance regarding West Africans and the Europeans who first came to this land. Luckily, I don't need to say much about why.
Learn the History, Unravel the Lies
Read brother Michael Harriot's blog post "Florida’s Black history standards are even worse than reported." And be safe out there. We don't any more stories of strange fruit.
Good news, Henrietta Lacks' family got some reparations for her immortal "HeLa cells." The actual amount is undisclosed at this time.