REP. AMOS QUICK
HOUSE GOP LOOKS TO
PUSH THROUGH NEW
ANTI-BLACK HISTORY BILL
By Cash Michaels
On the heels of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banning advanced placement African American history curriculum in the state’s public schools, North Carolina Republican lawmakers have decided to try again to get a bill outlawing the teaching of what they call “critical race theory (CRT)” in N. C. public schools. Their efforts were stymied by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in 2021 when he vetoed the measure calling it “conspiracy-laden politics.”
Now, with just one vote shy of a super majority in the state House, Republican lawmakers believe they can override Cooper’s veto after introducing House Bill 187 called “Equality in Education,” which was introduced last Thursday.
According to the language, HB 187 is “…an act to demonstrate the General Assembly’s intent that students, teachers and administrators, and other school employees recognize the equality and rights of all persons and to prohibit public school units from promoting certain concepts that are contrary to that intent.”
If that language seems general and vague, the subsequent language is anything but, and has given Democrats, especially African American Democratic House members, pause.
Among the many restrictions cited in the proposed measure, public schools in North Carolina would be prohibited from teaching (though the bill uses the term “promote”), among other things, that “an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; the United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex; the rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups; all Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights , including life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and that governments should deny to any person within the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of law.”
Under this law, if passed by the state House and Senate (which does have a supermajority to override Gov. Cooper’s veto), public schools would have to post on their websites at least 30 days prior “Providing instruction regarding concepts described ….in curricula, reading lists, seminars, workshops, trainings, or other educational or professional settings; contracting with, hiring, or otherwise engaging speakers, consultants, diversity trainers, or others’ who have previously advocated for what would be prohibited by law.
The law, if enacted, says it “would not apply” to textbook histories or other materials used “for the purpose of independent study and research,” or to “speech protected by the First Amendment.”
House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, in describing why North Carolina needs the “anti-CRT “law, told reporters last week that North Carolina students go to class “to learn, not be indoctrinated.”
But Black Democratic state lawmakers like Rep. Amos Quick of Guilford County told the News and Observer newspaper, “We need to learn the story of African Americans being able to overcome being brought here and enslaved for long periods of time. We need to learn about these things and how we have progressed as a society. And I think trying to shut down any telling of the actual American history is detrimental to our students, and to our society, because we don’t get a complete picture of who people are, where they’ve come from, and how they’ve contributed.”
The law becomes effective once it is ratified by the NC General Assembly.
According to the website Education Week,”Since January 2021, 44 states have introduced bills or taken other steps that would restrict teaching critical race theory or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism, according to an Education Week analysis. Eighteen states have imposed these bans and restrictions either through legislation or other avenues.”
REP. ADAMS CO-SPONSORS
JUSTICE FOR BLACK
By Cash Michaels
North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) has joined forces with New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker in sponsoring legislation in Congress titled “The Justice for Black Farmers Act of 2023” that, if passed, would “address the sordid history of discrimination in federal agricultural policy.”
Rep. Adams, who serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, says that the comprehensive legislation, if passed, would, “reform the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provide debt relief, and create a land grant program to encourage a new generation of Black farmers.”
The list of grievances from Black farmers is long, says Rep. Adams.
“During the 20th Century, Black farmers lost over $300 billion worth of farmland and acreage – a loss that further exacerbated the wealth gap for Black Americans,” she said in a statement. “That’s one of the many reasons why I’m proud to reintroduce the Justice for Black Farmers Act, which would enact policies to end discrimination within the USDA, protect the 50,000 remaining Black farmers from losing their land, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers, and restore the land base that has been lost.”
“Additionally, the Justice For Black Farmers Act provides substantial resources for 1890 Land-Grant Institutions to help Black farmers get up and running and includes funding for all HBCUs to expand their agriculture research and courses of study.
“I am proud to join Senator Booker in confronting our history, and opening the door to a brighter future with this bill," Rep. Adams concluded.
Sen. Booker, who along with Rep. Adams, had previously introduced similar legislation in 2021, told why he’s joining forces to do it again.
“There is a direct connection between discriminatory USDA policies and the enormous land loss we have seen among Black farmers over the past century,” said Senator Booker. “Last year in the Inflation Reduction Act, we took a positive step by providing $2.2 billion for financial assistance to farmers that have suffered discrimination by USDA, but there is still much more work to be done. The Justice for Black Farmers Act seeks to correct persistent injustices and help restore the land base that Black farmers have lost. I am proud to work with Representative Adams on this landmark legislation that would empower a new generation of Black farmers.”