Black history is being challenged in some states. Florida recently passed the Stop Woke Act, “which bans the teaching of a host of topics that they wrongly claim are part of Critical Race Theory, or CRT,” according to Rolling Stone. However, what is being labeled as CRT is actually just teachings on Black history.
New Jersey educator Rann Miller, who teaches AP U.S. history, said there are ways around Florida’s new laws. For example, when teaching on enslaved people, a teacher could say “there were ways that [enslaved people] worked counter to what the government would allow.” This would be a more illicit way of educating students about slave revolts.
Another resistance strategy Miller suggests is for teachers to utilize two textbooks – one for surveillance and one with real history. “We get into the job of education to educate young people,” he noted.
Therefore, educators must become creative in their teaching strategies. Really, resistance is a focal point of Miller’s book, “Resistance Stories from Black History for Kids: Inspiring People and Events That Every Kid Should Know.”
Although Miller was initially nervous about the publishers’ reaction to his work, he noted that his publisher has supported him every step of the way and made minimal edits to the book. In the book, Miller tells us, he reflects on the “Black radical tradition.”
This includes moments like the Haitian revolution and people like Touissant L’ouverture, who was a leader in the revolution. He also discusses enslaved people who escaped like Ona Judge, Henry Box Brown, and Robert Craft. Then, he puts a more contemporary lens on the fight for Black liberation by highlighting figures like Malcolm X and Dr. King.
Miller adds that while he focused on the famous “I Have A Dream” speech, he homes in on the radical parts of the speech where King called out the U.S. for their treatment of Black people. To Miller, Dr. King’s legacy was whitewashed, so he will work to fight the erasure of King’s radical politics. Miller acknowledged that some school districts may not house his book. Then, he stated, “I’m not concerned about it.”
Miller hopes that his book will teach readers that Black people were “complicit in their liberation,” and he calls on white and non-Black audiences to acknowledge that. “Historically, we resisted, and we will always resist,” he mentioned.
Miller’s book will be in stores on March 7, 2023.