After Marvin Dunn heard that a Florida textbook publisher had removed mention of race in its lesson about Rosa Parks for fear of being caught in the crosshairs of Gov. Ron DeSantis and his underlings at the Department of Education, the Black historian and author decided he had to act.
"We will not allow DeSantis to kill our history," Dunn tells New Times. "We just won't allow it. We will take our history directly to the parents if that's what's required, and apparently, it is what is required."
Dunn, a professor emeritus at Florida International University, says he and his nonprofit, Miami Center for Racial Justice, are launching a banned book project to ensure students learn about African American history at a time when Florida's Stop WOKE Act is restricting the teaching of systemic racism in schools. He hopes to directly connect with parents to provide banned titles and books that teach topics restricted under the 2022 law.
"We're going to acquire books that have been banned by the state of Florida, particularly in Miami-Dade County schools but also in other school districts around the state," Dunn says. "We're going to contact the parent-teacher associations... and ask if they're interested in receiving some of the banned books that they may distribute to their children. We will provide these at no cost to the parents."
"I'm getting an overwhelming response," Dunn adds. "I expect we're going to raise some money to get these books."
Part of the DeSantis administration's crackdown on so-called "woke indoctrination," HB 7 (AKA the Stop WOKE Act) took effect in July 2022.
The bill prohibits public schools from teaching the idea that people are "privileged or oppressed" on the basis of their race, national origin, or sex. It also bans teaching that a person's race, national origin, or sex can lead to unconscious or conscious biases.