SSN Commentary

Silence Is Complicity – On (Not) Teaching Black History in Maine

Policy field

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University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Originally published in Portland Press Herald on September 2nd, 2023.

Florida’s recent moves restricting Black history instruction and whitewashing slavery are alarming. The state is using the guise of “anti-wokeness” to justify its extreme measures. These baseless laws are certainly worthy of scrutiny, but, as a professor of teacher education, I am more worried about Maine than Florida.

My concern may seem unjustified because Maine has made progress in teaching minoritized history. Twenty-two years ago, the Wabanaki Studies Law was passed. And as recently as 2021, the Act to Integrate African American Studies became law. Together, these laws require that Indigenous and Black history be taught in schools.