Home Christian News Faith Leaders Renew Push for ‘Accurate’ Black History Education in Florida

Faith Leaders Renew Push for ‘Accurate’ Black History Education in Florida

“We’re trying to just make it easier and less stressful for teachers to teach information that they can include in every course that they teach even if they are not a history teacher,” Thompson Dorsey said.

“It may include inventors, or it may include different calculations or something that has been created by Black mathematicians,” she said.

The Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III, president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, is scheduled to preach at a “Save Our History” revival during the evenings of the Tallahassee symposium.

“I’m so proud of my colleagues in the state of Florida who have decided to take this situation into their own hands and actually do something about it,” he said in an interview, adding that he hopes their work could be replicated by others across the country.

“There is a real concern that there are some in this nation who are determined to make us just blind to a rich history that is a part of American history. And it does us no good when we turn our backs on a rich history that really needs to be shared and told,” he said.

Faith in Florida, a consortium of Florida leaders, is working to advance Black history, particularly through churches. In May of 2023, the multiracial and multifaith coalition of congregations launched an online toolkit to encourage Florida churches to teach Black history.

As of October, leaders of more than 300 congregations — mostly pastors of Black churches — from 22 states had pledged to join in the cause. That number has grown to more than 400 congregations in Florida and 28 other states and includes leaders from predominantly white and Muslim communities.

“People across the state and across the country want to know: How do we do more? How do we escalate this teaching?” said the Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida.

“What’s so important for us, and this convening, is making sure that we continue to teach history in its richness, in its fullness, teach it in ways that even educators wouldn’t be able to teach, because we don’t have a restriction in the church,” she said.

Both of the training sessions — the first in Tallahassee and the second in Orlando — will include curriculum companies whose products could enhance Black history instruction, organizers said.

Thomas said Holmes and his team have her organization’s support. The Florida General Baptist Convention is a partner of Faith in Florida, and some of the churches involved in the Tallahassee symposium are active members of her organization.

“We definitely do not look at it as a competitive thing, but we see how it’s going to take all of us to work together as one to make sure that Black history is taught in its fullness, in a way that it’s not diluted,” she said.

Ahead of the upcoming meetings, Thomas said she has already noticed the difference the church-based focus on Black history has made in some of Florida’s congregations.

“We have seen across the state how teaching Black history has become its own identity,” she said, “and now some of our Black history classes are larger than our Sunday school classes.”

This article originally appeared here