Virginia Group Launches Black History Campaign

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Civil rights leaders launched the Black History Is American History campaign to push back against Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who they say is attempting to stop schools from teaching about the history of racism.

“Ensuring that we teach the full enclave of African American history and Black history because Black history is American history, and we will not allow for it to not only be whitewashed or be taken away or painted as a negative when it comes to our school systems,” said Dr. Wes Bellamy, a parent and political science professor at Virginia State University.

The campaign is in response to the governor’s first executive order, which bans the teaching of critical race theory in public schools. The order set up an email account allowing parents to report when divisive topics are being taught. Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia schools.

Civil rights leaders say the governor’s order is an attempt to stop truthful teaching of Black history. They said ignoring the history of slavery, Jim Crow laws and the massive resistance to desegregation hurts all students.

“We believe that our kids are both resilient enough to learn the true history of America and that they will take that true history with all of its glory and all of its dark spots and use it to build lives where they can fight for justice,” said People for the American Way Executive Director Svante Myrick.

When asked for a response, Youngkin’s office referred to previous statements he’s made, including comments in February after signing the executive order.

“I believe that we have an opportunity in Virginia to embrace all history, the good and the bad, and we should teach it all,” he said. “We also do not want to teach our children to judge one another based on race, religion or sex.”

The campaign asks people to share their story about why Black history is important and what they want their children to learn. Those stories will be sent to the governor’s tip line.

The campaign urges parents to get involved, volunteer and talk to their kids and other relatives about the importance of Black history.

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