Archives for category: Race

The College Board has not released the syllabus for the AP African-American Studies course that the state of Florida wants to ban because, they say, it has “no educational value” and violates state law by invoking “critical race theory.”

But the syllabus was released by NBC News and is easily found on the internet.

And here is the syllabus.

I suggest that you read it for yourself.

Stanley Kurtz, a conservative academic, wrote a scathing critique in National Review, where he blasted the AP course as “Neo-Marxist” and intent on propagating a socialist-Marxist-Communist mindset. Google and you will find follow-up articles by Kurtz.

I taught the history of American education, and I wrote books that specifically included the history of the education of Black Americans. To write about the history, I read many of the authors cited in the AP course. None of those authors, like Frederick Douglass or Carter Woodson or W.E.B. DuBois or Booker T. Washington, should be excluded from a course like this.

I will say without hesitation that the course is not, as Florida officials claim, “leftwing indoctrination.” Very few Americans know anything about African history, so my guess is that 99% of that history will be new to every reader. I am not sure why DeSantis is upset by “intersectionality.” A reporter should ask him to define it. I saw no problem in the mention of the Black Lives Matter movement or the reparations movement, because they are part of history; they exist. Why ban them? The DeSantis team wants the AP course of study to be upbeat; to show the celebratory rightwing view of American history; to exclude authentic African American thinkers, like Kimberlé Crenshaw and Michelle Alexander.

True there is a topic on “Black Queer Studies” that must drive Ron DeSantis and his allies crazy. I doubt that any students will be turned gay by learning about the topic. But this topic alone will be sufficient to get the course banned in DeSantis’ state and probably other red states. It might get axed by the College Board, which is alert to its bottom line. If the pushback hurts revenue, the College Board is likely to beat a hasty retreat.

Kurtz is right on one count. He wrote that “A stunningly large portion of the APAAS curriculum is devoted to the history of black studies.” This is true. Students will learn a lot about the leading scholars of the field and their contributions. Much of the scholarship is about the scholarship. And much, rightly, is about the brutal exploitation and degradation of African peoples.

In discussions with students about their expectations for the course, students said there should be an “unflinching look at history and culture.” Of course. They don’t want a sanitized history. They also said “Emphasis should be placed on joy and accomplishments rather than trauma.” They felt that they had learned about slavery every year, and “students feel they have been inundated with trauma.” In this course, it’s hard to find the “joy and accomplishments” that students are hoping to learn about. It is unlikely that they will learn much about barrier-breaking individuals like Dr. Charles Drew; LBJ’s Housing Secretary Robert Weaver; Guy Bluford (the first Black astronaut) or Mae Jamison (the first Black female astronaut); Ralph Bunche (the first African American to win a Nobel Prize for his diplomacy); Leontyne Price, the great international opera star, born in Laurel, Mississippi, or the newest international opera star Michelle Bradley, born in Versailles, Kentucky; or even the first Black President, Barack Obama. Of the hundreds and thousands of African Americans who have achieved their dreams, not much is said. The students say they know a lot about Dr. King, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks; they want more. And they should have the pleasure of learning the inspiring stories of African-Americans who shattered stereotypes and made history.

The College Board says this is a preliminary version of the ultimate AP exam. It’s a good start. Let’s see if it can survive the political maelstrom.

Just in case there was any doubt about what Governor DeSantis and Florida legislature banned when they outlawed any discussion of “critical race theory,” that doubt has been resolved. They do not want schools and teachers to acknowledge race, racism, or the very existence of people of color in the United States. Sight unseen, the DOE has banned an AP course on African American studies. The Department claimed that the content of the course is historically inaccurate and violates state law, even though the Department has never seen the course syllabus.

The Miami Herald reported today:

Without a detailed explanation, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has rejected a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies for high school students, broadly claiming it violates state law and that it “lacks educational value.”

When asked for specifics on the content, the Florida Department of Education did not respond, making it unclear what items the state believes are unlawful or objectionable.

“In the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion,” the state wrote in a letter to the College Board, the company that administers the course as well as other interdisciplinary courses and the SAT exam.

The Advanced Placement program is the first course in African American studies to be offered by the College Board. It would allow high school students to earn credits and advanced placement at many colleges across the country.

The course has been in development for more than a decade, and it focuses not just in history, but explores the “vital contributions and experiences of African Americans” in literature, the arts, political science, geography and science, according to the College Board. A syllabus is not yet publicly available.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article271362032.html#storylink=cpy

Ohio is a state dominated by Republicans. When progressive candidates won seats on the state board in the recent election, Republicans moved swiftly to strip the state board of its powers and transfer them to a new state agency.

The state board has 19 seats. Eleven are elected. Eight are appointed by the Governor, Republican Mike DeWine.

News5 reported on the GOP plan to strip the state board of its powers.

For the first time in years, progressive candidates will control the elected seats on the executive agency, regulating if a resolution is able to pass or not. Candidates are voted on as nonpartisan candidates, however, each leans conservative or progressive and will be endorsed by a party. School board candidates tend to share their beliefs publically.

Three of the five seats up for grabs were taken by liberal candidates. Tom Jackson, of Solon, beat out incumbent Tim Miller by about 50,000 votes. Teresa Fedor, a now-former state senator from Toledo, beat opponent Sarah McGervey by more than 30,000 votes. Katie Hofmann, of Cincinnati, beat out incumbent Jenny Kilgore by around 30,000 votes.

“We’re just looking forward to getting back to Columbus and doing the people’s work,” Jackson told News 5.

Now, seven of the 11 elected seats are held by Democrats. The elected seats ensure that the total board can’t pass all resolutions it wants, since it needs a 2/3 majority. Of the 19 total seats, eight were appointed by Gov. DeWine. Now, with 12 GOP seats, a Democrat would need to switch over for policy to pass. This could change depending on attendance.

Even though Republicans hold a majority, they don’t have a 2/3 majority, and they won’t be able to pass resolutions without at least one Democrat.

Republican Governor Mike DeWine endorsed the plan to neuter the state board.

Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday he supports an Ohio Senate bill that would overhaul the Ohio Department of Education, gut powers from the Ohio State Board of Education and give his office more oversight of education.

“I think virtually every governor for 40 or 50 years has wanted to have more control in regard to the Department of Education,” DeWine, a Republican, told reporters. “So this governor is not going to be different. You know, I support the bill.”

Senate Bill 178 would put the Ohio Department of Education under a cabinet-level official in the governor’s office and rename the agency the Department of Education and Workforce, which would be called by the acronym DEW. The cabinet official would oversee the department, a task currently held by the state school board. The department would have two divisions: one for primary and secondary education and one for workforce training.

The 19-member state school board, made up of 11 elected members and eight members appointed by the governor, would continue to exist, but it would be stripped of most of its duties. It would oversee educator licensing and select the superintendent of public instruction, who would be a secretary to the board and an advisor to the DEW leader in the governor’s office.

“Candidly, the bill was not our idea, but I support the bill,” DeWine said. “I think what the public expects is accountability. And it’s hard to have accountability under our current system. You know, having the Department of Education with kind of a joint control between the governor’s office and the governor on certain areas, and other areas be the state elected Board of Education, I think is a very significant improvement.”

We have seen the same anti-democratic move in other states, like Indiana and North Carolina, where the legislature removed powers from the Governor or state superintendent so as to keep control of education in Republican hands, disregarding the voters’ wishes.

The U.S. Supreme Court is pondering the fate of affirmative action, the policy in higher education that aims to increase the representation of African American and Hispanic students. Students of color have long been underrepresented in the nation’s top colleges. Affirmative action is a good faith effort to increase their numbers. Critics who oppose affirmative action want admissions to be based solely on objective measures, like SAT-ACT scores. The critics claim that white and Asian-American students are discriminated against by affirmative action and that the number of places available for them are diminished by affirmative action.

Iris Rotberg, professor of education policy at the graduate school of education and human development at George Washington University, contends in the Hechinger Report that the real scandal in admission to elite colleges is the large number of places set aside for white students.

She writes:

The main barrier is affirmative action for affluent white students, which uses up a significant number of admissions slots at many highly selective institutions. This preferential treatment constitutes a major obstacle for everyone else — including white students who are not in privileged categories.

Consider how affirmative action played out for Harvard’s class of 2023. More than 43 percent of admitted white students were in one of four categories that received preferential treatment: legacies, recruited athletes, applicants on the dean’s interest list and children of faculty and staff.

An analysis of this class shows that three-quarters of these students would not have been admitted if their applications had not received preferential treatment.

More important, that preferential treatment resulted in far fewer slots for other applicants.

In addition, Harvard gives preferential treatment to white students who attended elite private schools.

About one-third of Harvard’s students attended private high schools, compared with the national average of less than 10 percent….

While the Students for Fair Admissions case has prompted a unique analysis of Harvard’s admissions practices, the practices themselves are not unique and are consistent with practices at many other highly selective institutions, where a substantial number of white applicants receive preferential treatment.

At the same time, Black and Hispanic students continue to be substantially underrepresented at highly selective institutions. A 2017 New York Times analysis of elite colleges and universities, for example, found that Black students, who account for 15 percent of the college-age population, averaged only 9 percent of freshman enrollment at the eight Ivy League institutions; Hispanic students accounted for 22 percent of the student-age population, but averaged 15 percent of freshman enrollment.

In addition, Black and Hispanic enrollment rates are even lower when the list of institutions is expanded to include the top 100 elite colleges and universities. Black students comprised 6 percent of student enrollment and Hispanic students 13 percent at those schools.

As many studies have shown, the underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic students does not reflect a lack of high-achieving students, but the barriers these students face in applying to highly selective institutions — costs, insufficient counseling and the recruitment policies of the institutions themselves, for starters.

The Ford Foundation decided to eliminate one of its best programs. This program has encouraged some of our most outstanding scholars of color. Who made this decision and why?

A millionaire foundation president constantly surrounded by controversy and verbal missteps (Google Darren Walker), a former University president who resigned, and the “cold” wealthy Apple tech heir just killed the most successful philanthropic diversity effort ever. Darren Walker, Francisco G. Cigarroa, and Laurene Powell Jobs are sunsetting the Ford Fellowship. For decades, this program has been addressing educator diversity in higher education and enhancing the contributions of faculty of color. Despite its unrivaled accomplishments— in an instant— one of the most successful diversity programs of all time— 6,102 fellows since the inception of the program in 1967— is now in the dustbin of history.

 

Educator diversity is one of the biggest challenges facing education today. It is an acute issue as students of color rarely encounter teachers of color in K-12 and then have the same experience in higher education. The last decade of research has shown that higher education hasn’t moved the needle and improved diversity in an appreciable way— but the Ford Fellowships clearly have. Mary Beth Gasman, a Professor at Rutgers University, said in the Washington Post that higher education has not solved this problem because colleges and universities “don’t want” faculty of color and now neither does the Ford Foundation.

 

In an email message to Ford Fellows, Darren Walker, Francisco G. Cigarroa, and Laurene Powell Jobs and the Ford Foundation board offered a couple of flawed reasons for killing the prestigious and impactful program. They argued that “winding down” the Ford Fellowships is acceptable because the Gates and Lumina foundations participate in higher education philanthropy. Leaving to the side the failures that the Gates Foundation has wrought on K-12 and Higher Education, it’s a straw man argument because unfortunately neither of these— nor any other foundation— are funding educator diversity in higher education in “meaningful and inspiring ways” as the Ford Foundation fellowships have done.

 

Walker, Cigarroa, and Jobs and the Ford Foundation board also engage a sleight of hand by mentioning that they will refocus on “social and racial justice.” What they neglect to mention is that the Ford Fellowship have supported the intellectual foundation of grassroots social and racial justice activism and movements. For example, while the program has encompassed many intellectual disciplines, this award has identified and supported some of the leading educational scholars and movement influencers such as Travis Bristol (Educator Diversity), Keffrelyn Brown (Culturally Relevant Pedagogy), Julian Vasquez Heilig (Community-Based Education Reform), Delores Delgado Bernal (Latinx students and schools), Daniel Solorzano (Critical Race Theory), Angela Valenzuela (Ethnic Studies), Chezare Walker (Black Youth and schools), Bryan Brayboy (Indigenous students and schools) and many more. I can only imagine how slighted the scholars of color supported by this fellowship may feel by this gross oversight of their widespread impact on social and racial justice. What Walker, Cigarroa, and Jobs and the Ford Foundation board don’t realize is that the fellowships are funding social and racial justice intellectual capital across the nation and globe. If they would have asked the Ford Fellows, they may have realized this. Furthermore, to set up a competitive and false dichotomy between funding Ford Fellowships and racial justice and movement building is insulting and demeaning for Ford Fellows and communities of color.

 

Killing the Ford Fellowships is not actually a “judgement call” as they say in their closing statement, but rather severe ignorance of the incredibly rich history of the Ford Fellowship. The closing of the Ford Fellowships just compounds Darren Walker’s ongoing errors, controversies, and missteps as a leader. Maybe for Darren Walker this “judgement call” is payback as the Ford Fellows created a movement and publicly protested his extensive support of prisons.

 

So, what is to be done? How do we hold the board members of the Ford Foundation representing Xerox, Ford, Davidson Kempner, Aluko & Oyebode, Cisco Systems, Sigma Impact, Mastercard and others accountable? Do you know how to reach out to them? Should Ford Fellows boycott the proposed 2023 conference? If Walker, Cigarroa, and Jobs and the Ford Foundation board were truly interested in movement building, the fellowship could have been reworked to encourage scholars to apply who are leaders and were identified as future leaders in social and racial justice. This new approach would add to the heritage of the Ford Fellowships and honor the legacy of leadership whose shoulders Walker, Cigarroa and Jobs and the Ford Foundation board stood on— but have now fallen off. By simply killing the Ford Fellowships, Darren Walker, Francisco G. Cigarroa, and Laurene Powell Jobs and the Ford Foundation board are destroying the intellectual foundation of social and racial justice movements and killing philanthropy’s most successful diversity program of all time. Shame on them.

In the past few years, we have seen the rise of something called the “parental rights” movement. This movement consists of angry white parents, mostly women, like “Moms for Liberty” and “Parents Defending Freedom,” who insist that they as parents have the “right” to decide what their children are taught in school and what books they read. They strenuously object to teaching about race and racism, which they say makes their children “uncomfortable.” They believe that teachers are “grooming” their children to be gay or transgender by teaching them about gender or sexuality. Of course, if the last were true, almost everyone would now be transgender, since most students have taken a sex-ed course at some point, focused mainly on health.

In response to the outcry from these groups, a number of states, led by Florida and Virginia, have passed laws they describe as “parental rights” laws, which ban the teaching of “divisive concepts” because they make students “uncomfortable.” The most “divisive” concept of all is “critical race theory,” which states ban. Since legislators don’t know what critical race theory is, their laws are meant to remove any teaching about race and racism from the curriculum.

Bottom line: only white parents have parental rights.

But what about Black parents? Do they have rights? Apparently not.

What about other parents who do not identify with angry white parents? Don’t their children have the right to learn an accurate history of the state, the U.S., and the world?

Why do Moms for Liberty get to define what all parents want?

Shouldn’t Black children learn about the history of race and racism?

Why shouldn’t all students learn accurate history, even if it makes them “uncomfortable”?

Why should a small subset of far-right fringe white parents get the power to censor what everyone else is taught and is allowed to read?

These “parental rights” laws are a paper-thin veneer for censorship, gag orders, lies and propaganda. They are the product of arrogant racists who can’t be bothered to hide their venomous racism.

They prefer ignorance to knowledge. They should not be allowed to impose their hateful ideology on others.

I will be a participant in a summer school program on Critical Race Theory. You are invited to sign up. I am part of the panel on July 20.

Greetings Friends and Colleagues, 

The African American Policy Forum is so excited to be Teaching Truth to Power this year at Critical Race Theory Summer School! It is crucial that we prepare racial justice advocates to defend the right to teach truth in classrooms. This powerful and urgent program runs July 18 to July 22, 2022. 

Seats are limited, so register here today! Events will be held daily between 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET throughout the week. Be sure to sign up for our listserv so that you don’t miss any updates. 

CRT Summer School 2022 will include a variety of plenaries, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities aimed to inform, activate, and inspire. We’re inviting parents, educators, students, social workers, legal practitioners, media professionals and concerned community members from all walks of life, because there is something for anyone to learn from the sheer breadth of options available this year! 

Daily Plenary Sessions

July 18 – Everyday CRT: A Commonsense Framework for Racial Liberation

July 19 – Public Schools, Private Agendas: How the Assault on Racial Justice Undermines Education

July 20 – Strange Bedfellows: The Left/Right Convergence that Enabled the Normalization of White Nationalism

July 21 – Define, Do Not Defend: How to Resist the Disinformation Campaign Against CRT

July 22 – Transforming a Moment to a Movement: Building A New Coalition to Secure our Multiracial Democracy

Discounts and Purchase Orders

Group sales (registration in increments of ten and five) are available and yield a 25% discount. For Purchase Orders please contact crt@aapf.org for more information.

Individual recipients of this email are eligible for a 10% discount using the following code during check-out: TSICAF-992000-IWANJ.

Full and partial scholarships are available. For more information visit our website: www.aapf.org/crtsummerschool.

On Demand Content

Great news! This year, all CRT Summer School content will be available to all registrants after the close of the event until Labor Day. You can watch anything you missed or revisit your favorites to ensure that you are a prepared racial justice advocate ready to defend the right to teach truth in schools.

We hope to see you at CRT-SS 2022! Please also share this email with your network – friends, colleagues, and constituents.

Onward,

African American Policy Forum

#TruthBeTold

Voters are not buying the phony claims of the candidates running on platforms against “critical race theory,” not even in conservative counties in Georgia. Thanks to Jennifer Berkshire for this story.

The Georgia Recorder reports on two elections:

Voters in Cherokee and Coweta counties rejected three school board candidates backed by a right-wing federal PAC Tuesday, following similar losses in last month’s primary.

It’s uncommon for political action committees to weigh in on local races, so voters were surprised to open up their mailboxes and find flyers from the 1776 Project PAC endorsing a slate of candidates ahead of the primary.

The PAC is a response to the 1619 Project, a New York Times initiative examining the lingering effects of slavery throughout U.S. history.

The 1619 Project; critical race theory; diversity, equity and inclusion and social and emotional learning have become rallying points for white, conservative parents who say their children are being made to feel guilty for racial injustice.

On its website, the committee describes itself as “dedicated to electing school board members nationwide who want to reform our public education system by promoting patriotism and pride in American history. We are committed to abolishing critical race theory and ‘The 1619 Project’ from the public school curriculum.”

Among the PAC’s endorsees were Cherokee County’s Sean Kaufman, a small business owner, and Ray Lynch, a physician.

Cherokee

The two previously teamed up with fellow 1776 Project endorsees Cam Waters, who works for the Georgia Association of Health Underwriters, and accountant Chris Gregory, styling themselves as 4CanDoMore, a slate for parents who “have been silenced, ignored and belittled.”

“With 4CanDoMore we can have a board majority that asks questions, a board that is transparent and unafraid, a board that reflects the family values of Cherokee County,” reads a statement on their website.

Their goal was to create a majority on the seven-member board to prevent policies they view as divisive, especially critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

The district had plans to hire Cecelia Lewis, a Black principal from Maryland to serve as its first diversity, equity and inclusion administrator, but she decided not to take the offer after watching a raucous meeting in which parents railed against her hiring.

The 4CanDoMore team offered Lewis’ planned hiring as evidence that the board did not consider the desires of parents.

Lewis has said she did not know what critical race theory was at the time and had no plans to incorporate it in her role. Cherokee County has never included the concept, which is typically reserved for higher-education graduate studies, in its curriculum, but the school board approved a resolution to ban it anyway. The state school board went on to impose its own ban on lessons teaching that the United States is racist, and Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law further banning “divisive concepts” regarding racial history. Teachers and administrators have largely said such measures were unnecessary.

Cherokee is a conservative county — nearly 70% of voters there chose Donald Trump in 2020, but their rejection of the 4CanDoMore squad suggests local issues can still trump national culture war arguments, said Jamie Chambers, a writer and Cherokee County resident who opposed the four candidates.

“In my area, Ray Lynch was running against Susan Padget-Harrison, and unlike him, where he came from out of state and was just kind of attacking, she has experience. She has been a teacher. She’s been involved with our school system for decades and has ties to our community,” he said. “And I think, ultimately, that’s the thing that carried the day with voters, people who were connected, that were actually talking about real issues within our schools and not just repeating talking points that don’t apply to us. While we live in a very conservative area, I don’t think that the kind of people who were protesting the hiring of Lewis, who were banging on the windows and doors of the superintendent’s office, those aren’t representative of the voters around here.”

Kaufman lost to Erin Ragsdale, a businesswoman and educator, and Lynch was defeated by Padgett-Harrison, a professor of education at Piedmont College.

In last month’s primary, Waters and Gregory were both defeated by incumbent board members by significant margins.

Coweta

In Coweta, incumbent school board member Linda Menk was ousted by baseball coach Rob DuBose, who received nearly 80% of the vote in the runoff.

Menk received calls for her resignation after she attended the Jan. 6, 2021 rally in Washington that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Critics also offered a list of insensitive and conspiratorial social media posts as evidence of her unfitness.

She also raised hackles on the board in 2019 for contacting the FBI, allegedly in an attempt to set up colleagues in a non-existent bid-rigging scandal.

Menk said she did not breach the Capitol and was simply expressing her First Amendment right to protest.

She offered no apologies in a school board meeting days after the riot.

“It was not sedition, it was not insurrection,” she said. “I attended a very peaceful rally, one of the most meaningful things that I actually had the privilege of engaging in was a large percentage of the attendees were there who had escaped communist China and had emigrated to this country, and the stories that they told me, basically, the United States was the last hope, it was the last place that they had to go.”

At the same meeting, then-board chair Amy Dees castigated Menk for distracting from the job of supporting students.

“We do have First Amendment rights as board members, but as an elected official, there are consequences for what we post and say,” she said. “Tonight, three board members took an oath of office. That oath of office means something, it means something to me. I uphold that with the utmost of integrity. It saddens me that we are here again and again and again, and it seems to me, Miss Menk, that you’re in the center of that.”

Other Coweta candidates endorsed by the 1776 Project PAC, Maxwell Britton, Megan Smith and Cory Gambardella, fell to board incumbents in the May primary.

ProPublica wrote about a campaign to destroy the reputation of a black educator and their pursuit of her to another district. The white agitators accused her of being an advocate of “critical race theory,” but she didn’t know what it was. That didn’t deter the vigilantes.

In April of 2021, Cecelia Lewis had just returned to Maryland from a house-hunting trip in Georgia when she received the first red flag about her new job.

The trip itself had gone well. Lewis and her husband had settled on a rental home in Woodstock, a small city with a charming downtown and a regular presence on best places to live lists. It was a short drive to her soon-to-be office at the Cherokee County School District and less than a half hour to her husband’s new corporate assignment. While the north Georgia county was new to the couple, the Atlanta area was not. They’d visited several times in recent years to see their son, who attended Georgia Tech.

Lewis, a middle school principal, initially applied for a position that would bring her closer to the classroom as a coach for teachers. But district leaders were so impressed by her interview that they encouraged her to apply instead for a new opening they’d created: their first administrator focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives…

At first, the scope of the role gave Lewis pause. In her current district, these responsibilities were split among several people, and she’d never held a position dedicated to anything as specific as that before. But she had served on the District Equity Leadership Team in her Maryland county and felt prepared for this new challenge. She believed the job would allow her, as she put it, to analyze the district’s “systemic and instructional practices” in order to better support “the whole child.”

“We’re so excited to add Cecelia to the CCSD family,” Superintendent Brian Hightower said in the district’s March 2021 announcement about all of its new hires. (The announcement noted that the creation of the DEI administrator role “stems from input from parents, employees and students of color who are serving on Dr. Hightower’s ad hoc committees formed this school year to focus on the topic.”) Hightower acknowledged “both her impressive credentials and enthusiasm for the role” and pointed out that, “In four days, she had a DEI action plan for us.”

But then a group of white parents decided that Lewis planned to bring “critical race theory” to their district. And they decided to hound her out of her job and out of Georgia.

Colbert I. King, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote recently about the acknowledgement by various institutions about their role in perpetuating slavery. Harvard University was the most recent example. King says that not enough attention has been paid to the sexual exploitation of slave women. As we reflect on the current Republican obsession with banning teaching about racism and accusing teachers of pedophilia, think of the following story. Who were the most dangerous pedophiles in American history?

King writes:

This soul-searching may well help the nation come to terms with its past. But an examination of racist cruelty in 18th and 19th-century America cannot stop with the failings of public and private institutions.

No probe into the corrosive effects of racial bondage can be complete without coming to grips with, besides slavery itself, the single most heinous crime against humanity committed in the annals of U.S. history: the centuries-long sexual exploitation and subjugation of Black women and girls….

How many black women and girls were sexually exploited?

The 1860 federal census provides a clue. In Southern or slaveholding states, and in Northern states respectively, 518,360 and 69,885 people were classified as “mulattoes.”

Then King refers to a relationship that was revealed almost a decade ago. I did not read about it then.

A 22-year-old White South Carolinian who impregnated a 16-year-old Black maid in his father’s house also comes to mind. He, Strom Thurmond, avowed segregationist, Dixiecrat presidential candidate and staunch opponent of civil rights legislation, went to his grave without saying a word about what he did to that teenager. As did hundreds if not thousands of White men before him.

King links to an article that tells the story of Thurmond’s never-acknowledged black daughter. It was written by journalist Mary C. Curtis and published in the Washington Post in 2013.

Essie Mae Washington-Williams lived for 87 years. But, in her own words, she was never “completely free” until she could stand before the world and say out loud that Strom Thurmond, the one-time segregationist South Carolina senator, was her father. That was in 2003, after she had spent more than 70 years being denied what we all deserve – her true name and birthright. “In a way, my life began at 78, at least my life as who I really was,” Washington-Williams wrote in her life story. She has died.

Thurmond’s oldest child — born when he was a 22-year-old man and her mother, Carrie Butler, a 16-year-old black maid in his father’s house – had kept the senator’s secret, an open one rumored about but never revealed when he was alive because, she had said, “He trusted me, and I respected him.” As in the case of Thomas Jefferson, another successful southern politician who was father to black children, stories shared among African Americans were long disbelieved until they turned out to be true….

She remained silent even as he did his best to block civil rights legislation and uphold white supremacy. She and her mother occasionally visited Thurmond’s law office. He sometimes gave her money. But he never gave her his name.

In 2003, she could finally stop holding her breath and tell her truth. The Thurmond family didn’t dispute her, and her name was added to the list of children on a monument for the senator on the grounds of the South Carolina state house, joining the Confederate flag, a monument to the contributions of African Americans and statues honoring segregationists who did their worst but could not stop Washington-Williams from achieving.

Wanda Bailey, Washington-Williams’ daughter, said in The State newspaper that her mother was an inspiration. “She was there for us,” Bailey said. “She was a very giving person. She did everything she could not only for her children, but her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

In that, she proved a better person than the man who spent his own life denying her. I wonder if she was smiling a few years ago when she said she would become a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy through Thurmond’s ancestral lines.

Facing internal conflicts most could only imagine, she became a mother, wife, teacher, and a daughter that Strom Thurmond or any father could be proud of.

South Carolina journalist Marilyn Thompson was credited with breaking the story of Strom Thurmond’s biracial daughter.