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Museums step up to teach kids about Emancipation Day post-Stop Woke Act

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

A museum in DeLand is holding an Emancipation Day celebration starting Friday in an attempt to teach Florida kids the African American history they might not be learning in school.

May 20th, 1865 is the day when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved people in Florida and they were freed. 

The African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand will celebrate Emancipation Day with a reading of the proclamation along with a reenactment of Frederick Douglas’ speech about the proclamation.

Museum Director Mary Allen says it’s crucial that young people in the state continue to learn this history despite the Stop Woke Act and a ban on critical race theory.

Some people are concerned that recently passed laws in Florida, including the Stop WOKE Act, could make it harder to fully and accurately teach African American history in K-12 classrooms.

She looks at this weekend’s events as: 

“As as a bigger opportunity for African American museums and other facilities to teach our young people, not just the African American children, but all children the true history, accuracy. How did this thing, how did it happen, who was involved? So they will get a better understanding and and bring about some healing.”

Allen says this history is crucial for every child to learn regardless of their background.

“Each and every child regardless of who they are, they feel proud when they know what their contributions are, when they know who they are. It builds their self esteem and that was one of the key factors for building this museum for the young people. We want them to know who they are, and to be proud of all the contributions that was made by African Americans to this country.”

Experts say critical race theory isn’t currently taught in K-12 classrooms in the state.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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