On July 27, the College Board made its stance known that slavery did not benefit African Americans. This stance came after Jermey Redfern, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, took to Twitter to share a picture of the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) course on African American Studies that refers to slavery and seemingly compared it to Florida’s new Black History curriculum, that’s been understandably receiving a ton of backlash.
The document Redfern references say students should be taught about the “range and variety of specialized roles” of enslaved people. “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, African Americans used these skills to provide for themselves and others,” the course also mentions.
“Remember when Florida wouldn’t allow that AP African American Studies course because it focused too much on CRT and not enough on history, and the White House lost its mind? Well, here is one of the standards considered ‘essential knowledge,’” he tweeted.
Conversations and criticisms surrounding the teachings of Black history education sparked after Florida’s Board of Education approved a new set of standards for how Black history will be taught in public schools. As a part of the new curriculum, middle-school teachers must educate their students “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
In conversation with CNN, the College Board states they are aware that the suggested requirements of its AP African American Studies course does align with some of the recently approved Black history standards of Florida.
“Unit two of the current framework includes a discussion about the skills enslaved people brought with them that enslavers exploited as well as other skills developed in America that were valuable to their enslavers,” the board said. “Enslaved Africans and their descendants used those skills to survive, build community, and create culture in resistance to their oppression.”
Despite the comparisons, the organization wanted to make it known that its AP African American Studies course “will offer a holistic introduction to the history, literature, and arts of Black people in the United States.”