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In establishing new social studies standards for middle school students on July 19, 2023, the Florida Board of Education included in the section on slavery:
“Examine the various duties and trades performed by slaves (e.g., agricultural work, painting, carpentry, tailoring, domestic service, blacksmithing, transportation). Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, who campaigned for President Joe Biden in Wisconsin on Aug. 3, called the language “revisionist history” for suggesting African Americans benefited from slavery.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the standard, saying it mirrors language in the AP African American Studies course framework.
That standard states:
“In addition to agricultural work, enslaved people learned specialized trades and worked as painters, carpenters, tailors, musicians, and healers in the North and South. Once free, American Americans used these skills to provide for themselves and others.”
This fact brief, originally published by Wisconsin Watch, is responsive to conversations such as this one.
Florida Department of Education Florida’s State Academic Standards – Social Studies, 2023
Florida Department of Education July 19, 2023 – Meeting Agenda
AP Central AP African American Studies framework