The decade's most triggering comedy
One of the academics behind Florida’s African American history curriculum slammed Vice President Kamala Harris‘ “lies” about what is in the material, saying that her remarks are “categorically false.”
Harris ignited a false narrative last week when she took a trip to Jacksonville, Florida, to attack the new curriculum, falsely claiming that “in the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery.”
Harris seized on one sentence from the 216-page curriculum that clarified how freed slaves used skills they learned and developed during slavery to help themselves later in their lives: “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
The College Board included a similar item in its course framework for AP African American Studies for 2023-2024. The curriculum identifies as “essential knowledge”: “In addition to agricultural work, enslaved people learned specialized trades and worked as painters, carpenters, tailors, musicians, and healers in the North and South. Once free, American Americans used these skills to provide for themselves and others.”
The College Board’s AP college prep classes are available in thousands of schools across the U.S.
Dr. William Allen, former chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Florida’s African American History Standards Workgroup member, has unloaded on Harris, teachers unions, and others who he says are spreading “lies.”
Fox News host Jesse Watters noted that this “hoax” was thrust into the national media when ABC News only aired an edited clip of Allen’s remarks about the curriculum.
Allen said [bold text indicates the portion that ABC News aired]:
“The only criticism I’ve encountered so far is a single one that was articulated by the Vice President, and which was an error. As I stated in my response to the Vice President, it was categorically false. It was never said that slavery was beneficial to Africans. What was said, and anyone who reads this will see this with clarity: It is the case that Africans proved resourceful, resilient and adaptive. And were able to develop skills and aptitudes which serve to their benefit, both while enslaved and after enslavement.“
During an interview with Watters this week, Allen said, “Permit me not to give you Kamala Harris’ motives. They’re invisible. I don’t know them. We can all have suspicions that there’s a dishonest purpose afoot. But what’s more important than that dishonest purpose is the truth. And this curriculum is devoted to telling the truth, whereas Kamala Harris has retailed a lie. Now, it may only have been a falsehood the first time she stated it, but when you repeat a falsehood, it becomes a lie.”
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) July 25, 2023
Allen said that those on the Left who are pushing the false claims are doing so “because they have an agenda and they only want slavery to be told from a certain perspective.”
“Indeed, it’s a wonderful irony when you think about it, that they are accusing the workforce that developed this curriculum of embracing the positive good school of slavery, that 19th century abuse, which I have refuted in my scholarship … these people are saying this is what’s being presented in Florida,” he said. “It is an absolute falsehood. If anybody is presenting the positive good school of slavery it’s the heirs of people like Calhoun and Taney and Woodrow Wilson, who continue to propagate the false picture that the birth of the nation was nothing but slavery.”
Allen highlighted the story of Frederick Douglass, who described in his autobiography how “the mistress of his slave owner began to teach him to read,” Allen said. “She pulled back the curtain through which a glimmer of light shone before the master forced her to close it. But that glimmer of light was enough for Frederick Douglass to illumine a bright flame that he exploited to his benefit and his country’s benefit thereafter.”
“Such examples are numerous, and they are retailing the stories of people who suffered the indignity of slavery time and again,” he continued. “And quickly permit me to say, what this curriculum is about is having people who lived the experience, who lived the history, tell their stories. And nothing is more important than that. We never, ever erase the stories that the people who lived the stories tell; no one has a right to interpret before first understanding the stories as the people who lived them understood them themselves.”
During a subsequent interview with podcast host Megyn Kelly, Allen said that the group who created the curriculum did so in public and invited others, including teachers unions, to weigh-in.
“The African American history workgroup deliberated in public,” he said. “The sessions were open to the public, it was widely disseminated. The teachers union was invited to attend, to listen, and to contribute. They remained silent through the entire process, contributed zero, zero until it was all done, and then surfaced like snakes in the grass to take potshots. Now tell me that’s not a deliberate design.”
When asked if the teachers unions even showed up to the meetings, Allen responded, “They blew it off. For all practical purposes. One person who had some affiliation attended some of the sessions, but largely the sessions were empty, devoid of any presence from the teachers union, whether online or in person.”
Absolutely brutal look for the FL teachers union here, though VERY on-brand. The partisan bosses don’t care about educating kids at all. They care about politics and self interest. Bruising: pic.twitter.com/5gm6JPvhPI
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 25, 2023
Tim Pearce contributed to this report.