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NAACP leaders in Orlando denounce state's rejection of AP African American history course

Joe Byrnes
Colin Mitchell, a high school junior from Ocala, speaks at a meeting of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP in Orlando on Saturday.

Meeting in Orlando over the weekend, state and national representatives of the NAACP denounced Florida's decision to reject a high school Advanced Placement course on African American history.

The Florida Department of Education sent a letter to the College Board earlier this month saying that the new course is unlawful and lacks educational value. Gov. Ron DeSantis argues the AP course amounts to indoctrination but emphasizes that Black history is taught in Florida schools.

NAACP speakers — like Colin Mitchell, Florida presidet of the Youth and College Division — blasted the idea that the African American story is not relevant or lacks value.

"Black history is a part of American history," he said. "I'm just going to say this: We built this nation. And we should have our own way to tell our history."

The high school junior at Crossroads Academy in Ocala is planning a statewide distribution of what he calls banned books -- like Ibram X. Kendi's "How To Be an Anti-Racist" -- to youth groups and college students.

Chairman of the national board Leon Russell said the NAACP is exploring ways to "litigate like hell" against Florida's rejection of the AP course.

"We will not allow public officials to rip our part of American history out of textbooks, out of the classroom and out of the mouths of teachers," Russell said.

The NAACP's Legal Defense Fund has already joined in a lawsuit challenging the Individual Freedom Act -- or Stop WOKE Act -- signed by DeSantis last year. That law limits classroom discussiosn on racism and privilege, among other things.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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