Bridgeport residents protest Florida governor's support of his state's Black history curriculum
A protest was held in Bridgeport Saturday against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his state's new Black history curriculum.
Longtime civil rights activist Mary McBride Lee, of Bridgeport, said she has spent a lifetime trying to help steer the country away from the pain of America's past. She said, however, DeSantis is putting the country on a path that leads in the exact opposite direction.
Among the curriculum McBride Lee criticized was new standards that teach "that some Black people benefited from slavery because it taught useful skills."
"I was in my favorite chair in my living room watching TV and I said, 'What? What did he say?'" McBride Lee recalled.
McBride Lee organized the protest outside the U.S. Court House Federal Building. She said what DeSantis calls "an open and honest dialogue" about his state's Black history curriculum has attracted criticism from a Florida teacher's union, even from members of his own party.
"Ron DeSantis, about three months ago, told America that he doesn't want anything taught in America that would make a young white child feel embarrassed. The second that he said that it was clear who he was talking to. It wasn't about us," said Bridgeport resident Wayne Winston.
"It's something that is going to have a ripple effect across our country and it's seeping into our politics," said Reverend Dr. Herron K. Gaston.
"And for him to say that we benefited from slavery... no. They benefited from slavery," said Lyle Hassan Jones, an Imam of Bridgeport.
"And it's a shame that anybody could say that slavery was a good thing," said Bridgeport City Council Member Ernie Newton.
"Ron DeSantis, we condemn your actions, we condemn your words, we condemn your leadership, but most importantly we will not allow you to become president of the United States," said resident Chiquita Felder-Stephenson.
DeSantis said he was not involved in devising the new educational standards. Vice President Kamala Harris, however, said DeSantis has consistently defended the material, which she calls "revisionist history."