Stop Whitewashing History By Banning African American Studies

Target: Jacob Oliva, Arkansas Education Secretary

Goal: Allow AP African American history course to go forward as planned.

The high school where an angry mob harassed and threatened nine Black students in an attempt to prevent desegregation is one of several schools in Arkansas where politicians are trying to censor their own history. Just before the start of the school year, the state’s Department of Education—with the full backing of Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders—announced that its Advanced Placement (AP) African American history course would not count towards college credit. The curriculum, which was approved by the state just one year prior, will now suddenly somehow “indoctrinate students with ideologies.”

This latest assault on free and open education comes on the heels of Florida announcing it would not even offer the class in question and of other states banning topics that have been taught for years. Providing students with an unvarnished and unflinching view of all American history is not indoctrination. It is learning and it is encouraging critical thinking. Dictatorships whose stock and trade are indoctrination usually do, however, lean heavily into censorship.

Sign the petition below to help ensure this state does not become an American dictatorship.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Oliva,

“The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination.” The standoff at Little Rock Central High School over desegregation that took place six-plus decades ago was not an opinion. It is historical fact. What is, however, an opinion is the assertion that slavery had “benefits” for the human beings who endured it. While Arkansas may not be responsible for the latter highly offensive “opinion,” this state is treading dangerously close.

The AP African American history course in your crosshairs was painstakingly developed from primary and secondary historical sources as well as the most esteemed scholars. This state found no fault with the curriculum when it was approved one year ago. Now,  mere days before school resumes, a problem has arisen. Which concept feels more like politicization and indoctrination…the popular course that so many students were looking forward to taking and enriching their understanding, or the attempted demeaning and oppression of said information? The real victim of so-called cancel culture, it seems, is history itself.

Do you want to one day find yourself in future history books as not a true leader but as a champion of censorship and as another authoritarian opponent of educational freedom, critical thinking, and racial equality? If the answer is no, rescind your attack on this important and potentially life-changing learning opportunity.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Johnny Jenkins


One Comment

  1. The Christmas cards are wrong. There will never be peace on earth until each of us has peace in our hearts.

    America is like other countries in that we have a dark history which was painful and deadly. We also have a bright history which we all shared. Yet as it is said … if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.

    God didn’t make junk. Each of us is a child of God.

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