On Jan. 12, 2023, you wrote a rejection letter to the state College Board, rejecting a new high school Advanced Placement African American Studies (APAAS) course, which you claim violates Florida’s “Stop W.O.K.E.” Act.
Your letter read in part, “as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” An Advanced Placement African American Studies course that, according to you, lacks educational value.
My Eighth-grade American History teacher, Mr. Rutledge H. Pearson, said to me and my fellow students in the eighth grade in his class, “Freedom is not free. If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”
I visit those words daily from Mr. Pearson, my mentor, who was also the adviser of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, which I joined at age eleven. I wanted to be a part of the solution.
Mr. Pearson did not teach his students American History, from the racist and bigoted viewpoints of White American historians and textbook authors who only saw fit to include two Blacks in our American history textbooks approved for Negro (the vernacular at the time) education, but from the truth. He told us to "Leave the textbooks home." American history textbooks, approved for “Negro” students in my “Negro” Junior High School, in the “Negro” Division of the Duval County Public School System. Mr. Pearson recognized that the American History textbook given to him to teach his students was repulsively not truthful, and he refused to be a party to an Incomplete, Dishonest, and Racist American History.
When truthful history books are written about your administration and the State of Florida during your administration, Governor DeSantis, I wonder what they will say?
Will they say you are a part of the problem and not a part of the solution?
Will they say you created the “Ron DeSantis Education Agenda” to “twist and manipulate” American history to your racist liking?
Will they say you intimidated the education community-public schools, colleges, and universities in the State of Florida with insidiously racist pronouncements to teach lies about American History or not teach American History at all?
Will they say your governor’s edicts had schoolteachers and college professors “cowering in fear” about what they could and could not teach and afraid of their jobs?
Will they say your “informational letter about funding for “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” to colleges and universities had as its pathological intent to “frighten” administrators and college/university presidents from doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do, and afraid of their jobs?
Will they say your vulgar reference to Black History having “insignificant educational value” means you are clueless that two of the most significant Civil Rights leaders in the history of this nation were Floridians James Weldon Johnson and A. Philip Randolph?
Will they say your vulgar reference to Black History having “insignificant educational value” means that you are proclaiming the racial massacre of Blacks and the destruction of Rosewood, Florida, never happened? That the racial massacre of Blacks and the destruction of Ocoee, Florida, never happened? That Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette Moore were not killed when their home was bombed on their 25th wedding anniversary on Christmas day because they advocated for voter registration for Blacks? That young people, primarily teenagers, did not feel the violent wrath of ax handles and baseball bats in downtown Jacksonville, peacefully sitting in at segregated White lunch counters protesting segregation and racism, even though they were invited into the stores to spend money as shoppers? That FAMU students were not beaten and jailed because they were protesting the racism of downtown Tallahassee stores? That Johnnie Mae Chappelle was not shot and killed merely Walking While Black?
These violent events happened because of the lack of respect for those whose skin hue was and is Black—the same disrespect which is a cornerstone of White American Christian Racism. The same disrespect you have shown since your first day as the governor of this state of sunshine and beaches and core racist attitudes.
Therein lies your problem, Governor DeSantis. Your racist disrespect is as apparent as your racism. You have been enabled and empowered by a generous assortment of "do-gooder Christian Whites" who profess to want Sisterhood and Brotherhood without calling out the very racism which prevents Brotherhood and Sisterhood.
I used to castigate racist Mississippi governor Ross Barnett and racist Alabama governor George Wallace as Grand Dragons of the Ku Klux Klan without the hood and the robe. Klansmen in suits.
Let me “congratulate” you for taking your rightful place on the pedestal of “Most Racist Governors” in American History. And like Ross Barnett and George Wallace, you do not need a robe. Racist Governor Ron DeSantis. It has a ring to it. You have earned your racist stripes.
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.