For over a decade, the College Board has carefully constructed the curriculum for a new course, AP Afri-
can American Studies. Initially this course was widely received by most states and school systems. However,Â in early February, the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, openly rejected AP African American Studies andÂ said that he would not permit it to be taught in the Florida school system. Shortly after his comments, theÂ College Board severely altered the course, removing sections on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement,Â the reparations movement, critical race theory and Black queer studies.Â In response to these changes, a small group of Minnehaha students wrote a letter to the College BoardÂ contesting these changes. If you are also interested in writing a letter, feel free to use this one as an example.
It has come to the attention ofÂ Minnehaha Academy’s studentÂ body that significant alterationsÂ have been made to the curriculum of the AP African AmericanÂ studies course. In doing so, it hasÂ become evident that you have given in to the pressure of Florida’sÂ governor, Ron DeSantis, and hisÂ fear-mongering, racist policies.Â We implore you to reinstate theÂ previous curriculum without theÂ recent alterations.
For too long, the United StatesÂ has refused to acknowledge anÂ accurate history of our country’s past. AP African AmericanÂ Studies offers an opportunity toÂ start and maintain conversationsÂ about the experiences of AfricanÂ Americans – past and present.Â By altering the course syllabus,Â the administration is denyingÂ future students the opportunityÂ to acquire an accurate picture ofÂ American history.
Removing these crucial sections compromises the ability ofÂ the course to serve its intended
purpose: providing a moreÂ complete and accurate historicalÂ narrative. Some would say, this
unfortunate turn of events callsÂ the validity of the College BoardÂ into question. Excluding material on the BLM movement andÂ Black queer studies neglects andÂ discredits the accomplishments
and struggles of many. CensoringÂ aspects of the Civil Rights Movement and its important leadersÂ is equivalent to ignoring theÂ progress made in the past century.Â The purpose the AP AfricanÂ American Studies course is to
provide the actual account of bothÂ the past and present struggles andÂ successes of African Americans inÂ American society.
Knowledge is power; by depriving young students of thisÂ knowledge, you are deprivingÂ them of their right to know whatÂ has gone into the formation of ourÂ country. Specifically removingÂ significant sections on the BLMÂ movement and Black queer studies insinuates that these aspects ofÂ African American history don’tÂ deserve to be taught, furtherÂ invalidating African AmericansÂ in the academic sphere. How doesÂ one intend to spark the interestÂ of disenfranchised communitiesÂ without featuring them in theÂ material being taught?
Since its inception, AmericaÂ has been wrought with racialÂ conflict. Some may say we liveÂ in a post-racial society, howÂ ever, situations like this proveÂ otherwise. From the civil rightsÂ era to current social upheavals,
most significant historical eventsÂ regarding African AmericansÂ were denied inclusion in publicÂ discourse until they were deemedÂ safe to discuss. This sad patternÂ can’t be repeated; if someoneÂ were to ask students a decadeÂ or two ago, “what do you knowÂ about black history?” they mightÂ chalk it up to slavery and segregation. That is due to incompleteÂ and often emaciated accounts ofÂ African American history, whichÂ perpetuates simplistic and inaccurate representations of those whoÂ helped build our country. TheÂ ramifications of such can be seenÂ today in public discourse that isÂ stunted by an inability to tolerate difference if it goes against aÂ specific group’s worldview. WeÂ are inclined to say, “if the shoeÂ fits, wear it,” due to the apparentÂ refusal to accept that generationalÂ trauma is often passed down byÂ those taking passive approaches
to the orders of those in powerÂ (politicians and their ilk).
In conclusion, the course of action the College Board has takenÂ is both detrimental to America’s
youth and the respectability ofÂ the College Board. The grievances we’ve aired are not uniqueÂ to the Minnehaha Academy community alone, as we’re sure you’veÂ received numerous other hurt andÂ enraged correspondences. WeÂ implore you to make the courseÂ whole once more and give powerÂ to the people through knowledge.