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Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis,
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said a recent AP African American course lacked "educational value" for having a section about the Black LGBTQ+ experience. Photo: @GovRonDeSantis.

Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC) rejects ban of African American studies courses in Florida

The ban was recently announced by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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The sister organization of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC) — developed to create a coalition of African American cultural influencers and health advocates that can revolutionize outreach to the African American community — recently spoke out against the remarks of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who banned an AP African American history course in the state because it featured a section about the Black LGBTQ+ experience.

“It is appalling that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made a decision to prohibit high school students from being availed the knowledge of the impact of racism on Black Americans, as well as their invaluable contributions to the growth and development of this country, all of which is a part of American History,” stated BLACC.

The Measure

The administration of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently blocked a new Advanced Placement (AP) course on African American studies for high school students.

According to the letter DeSantis sent to the College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees AP courses, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Office of Articulation, the classes lack "educational value" and go against Florida law.

The move is part of a push by DeSantis to limit teaching about critical race theory, following a 2021 law that prohibited teaching the concept that explores the history of systemic racism in the United States and its ongoing impacts.

The law also banned material from The 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning work by Nikole Hannah-Jones and writers from The New York Times to recast American history around the arrival of slave ships on American shores, while signing legislation that limits how much schools can discuss race with students.

For its part, the College Board responded through a statement sent to CNN: “We look forward to bringing this rich and inspiring exploration of African American history and culture to students across the country.”

“To reject African American studies, and state that it ‘lacks educational value,’ is racist at its core, and personifies his real disregard for the over 3 million Black Americans that reside in the state and actively contribute to its economic and cultural vitality,” added BLACC.

About the course

The course proposed by the College Board last year seeks to bring African American studies classes to 60 schools across the country during the 2022-23 school year with the goal of making the course available to all schools in the 2024-2025 school year.

The first AP African-American Studies exam would be administered in the Spring of 2025, according to the College Board's website.

“For BLACC, an organization that focuses on the upliftment and empowerment of African Americans, and addresses public health and social justice issues affecting African Americans, racism is a public health issue and therefore we do a call to the Florida Department of Education and the College Board to immediately rebuke these racist actions,” concluded BLACC.

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