A publishing company based in Chicago is offering free e-books on Black history in response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) rejection of an AP African American Studies course in Florida schools.
Haymarket Books, a “radical publisher of politics, culture, current events,” announced the initiative after the College Board decision to water down its AP course last week. “The racist governor of Florida continues to escalate his attacks on the freedom to learn and teach history,” they said in a statement.
The books Haymarket is offering include “From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation,” a book about the racial justice movement by academic and New Yorker writer Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor; “Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice,” a compendium of essays from parents, students and teachers involved with racial justice; and “1919,” a poetry book by scholar Eve Ewing depicting the Chicago race riots of 1919.
The publishing house said that they’re connecting with Floridians to directly distribute the books to students across the state.
Their response came a day after the College Board published its revised version of a pilot AP African American Studies Course on Feb. 1. The latest version removed most authors who wrote about modern Black issues, like civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, as well as most references to Black Lives Matter and LGBTQIA issues, while adding a suggestion for a research project on “Black conservatism” in its stead.
While College Board president David Coleman said the course was finalized back in December, the changes came not long after DeSantis’ administration loudly rejected the course, claiming that the coursework they received “significantly lack[ed] educational value.”
The FDOE’s rejection came as another battle challenge to public school curricula from the governor, who passed both the Stop W.O.K.E. Act and the “Don’t Say Gay” bill last year to root out work on racial justice and LGBT issues in schools – and to do it loud enough for MAGA Republicans to hear as he weighs a 2024 bid.
“We know that books can be dangerous to those in power, especially when they are in the hands of folks who are organizing to fight for liberation,” the publisher wrote. “That’s why we publish them. That’s why they’re trying to ban them.”