Posted on February 16, 2023

Rev. Al Sharpton Leads Marchers Opposed to Florida’s Rejection of AP African American Studies Course

Ray Sanchez et al., CNN, February 15, 2023

Hundreds of marchers, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton and other activists, held a rally outside Florida’s state Capitol on Wednesday to protest Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration’s rejection of a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies.

The state last month rejected the proposed AP multidisciplinary study of the African American diaspora that includes literature, the arts, science, politics and geography. The DeSantis administration has said the course “lacks educational value” and violated state law.

“If you would have studied history long enough, you would have known to mess with us in education always ends in your defeat,” Sharpton told the crowd of marchers in Tallahassee.

“Our children need to know the whole story … to not only know how bad you were but to know how strong they are. They come from a people that fought from the back of the bus to the front of the White House.”

The event started at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, where the diverse crowd marched a short distance to the state Capitol building.

“Make note that we are all marching together,” said Sharpton, noting that the crowd included members of the LGBTQ, Native American and Latinx communities. “You should have left us alone. Now you have brought us all together.”

Sharpton said historical inflections points on racism and bigotry in the US always involved education, from slavery through Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement.

The marchers chanted slogans like, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ron DeSantis has got to go!” and “I’m Black and I’m proud!” {snip}


The Florida Department of Education informed the College Board of its decision to reject the new course in a January 12 letter that later became public and drew widespread criticism from Black leaders in Florida as well as the White House.


The education department said it had concerns about six topics of study in the yearlong course, such as the Movement for Black Lives, Black feminism and reparations. Many objections were tied to the inclusion of texts from modern Black thought leaders and history teachers, whose writings the DeSantis administration believes violate state laws.

Florida, under DeSantis, banned the teaching of critical race theory and passed new legislation last year barring instruction that suggests anyone is privileged or oppressed based on their race or skin color.