Jack Tulloss: Florida is desecrating history

Published: 08-13-2023 9:42 AM

Elucidate: a euphonious word meaning to make lucid or clear. So it is elucidating to learn that the Florida State Board of Education, for clarity’s sake, has recently determined conventional impressions of slavery are a crock (pun intended) and require revision. In the spirit of revisionism, the Sunshine State Board believes that enslavement, as currently taught in Florida schools, far from being an enterprise in murder, rape and ruin, was an unappreciated opportunity for personal growth and advancement. The proposed new academic syllabus will highlight the practical skills some Black people acquired during enslavement, such as rope manufacturing, presumed to be helpful in post-emancipation America.

Who would have thought that, despite voluminous written accounts and photographs documenting the experiences of the enslaved, historians and descendants of slaves have been wrong all along? Expanding Floridian pretzel logic, heedless Native American nations squandered self-actualization opportunities by resisting the destruction of their cultures, relocating to desolate gated communities and enrolling in Indian Boarding Schools. Not to mention how the ungrateful casualties of 46 years of apartheid in South Africa were simply blind to the offerings afforded by existing in abject poverty, hopelessness and deprivation.

We know what is sacred when we recoil from impiety. And Florida is trafficking in impiety by desecrating history. The state-sanctioned notion that centuries of lynchings, torture, and unspeakable wretchedness were elemental opportunities for development and achievement is equally repugnant yet understandable given the current political leadership in Florida and the nation. The Sunshine State? Really?

Jack Tulloss



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