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Black Churches In Florida Will Teach Black History In Response To Recent Laws On Education

Churches in Florida have launched Black history lessons for their communities recently.


Black Churches

Nearly 300 churches in the Sunshine State have taken the initiative to invite community members to learn about the Civil Rights Movement to Juneteenth to mass incarceration. This is a direct response to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statewide “crusade to restrict how race and other subjects are taught in public schools and colleges."


DeSantis, a Republican, blocked the teaching of Advanced Placement African American history in state high schools, “signed the Stop WOKE Act in 2022 to severely limit schools from the learning race-inclusive education, and pushed new public school standards that teach that enslaved Africans benefited from slavery.”


So, Faith in Florida developed an online toolkit with books, videos, and other resources about Black history. The goal is to push back on these Republican-led attacks on education. The toolkits include several books such as Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World Crow; documentaries such as Ava AuVernay’s 13th and CBS News’ Trayvon Martin: 10 Years Later; as well as videos for children like snippets from the popular YouTube Channel, Gracie’s Corner.


Additionally, the toolkit lists national and local museums on Black history and culture across the country.


“I believe we have an opportunity to play a role in meeting a need that was created by our legislature,” Sharon Riley, a paster at Agape Perfecting Praise and Worship Center in Orlando. “Agape holds its Black history lessons once a month, and more and more community members are showing up or watching online. The more we are able to educate the people we come in contact with, we can empower communities.”


Two-hundred and thirty miles south is Rev. Alphonso Jackson, executive pastor at New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, who said it was a “no brainer” to join the Faith in Florida movement in wake of the education's attacks. The majority Black church was founded in 1938.


Jackson said this was perfect that a resource like this could guide the church’s lessons. Many folks of all ages went to the church for its first Black history lesson back in November. “There was excitement in the room,” he said. “You saw it on people’s faces. They were looking forward to the lesson. You definitely felt that as soon as you walked in.”


According to the Faith in Florida website, the mission of Faith in Florida is to build a powerful, multicultural, nonpartisan network of congregation community organizations in Florida, that will address gun violence, voter suppression, systemic racial/economic issues that cause poverty for our families and help build a beloved community.”

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