Black history and culture are being erased. This Black History Month, we're looking at what you can do to fight back.

In a Month Meant to Celebrate Black History, Some Are Trying to Erase It

This Black History Month we celebrate the contributions of Black artists, scientists, writers, makers, and leaders.

We celebrate the strength and brilliance of Black people, who’ve persevered through 400 years of white supremacy and systemic racism, through slavery, Jim Crow, over-policing, and mass incarceration.

Unfortunately, this month we also have to call out the growing movement to censor the teaching of Black history and the celebration of Black culture in the classroom and beyond. Here are five ways that some politicians are trying to erase Black history and what you can do to fight back.


We Went On Tour With Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp To Give Away Banned Books in Florida


  1. Banning books by and about Black people

    Between 2021 and 2022, more than 1600 books about race or gender were banned in more than 130 school districts, impacting about 4 million students at 5,000 schools nationwide. One district in Pennsylvania even banned two children’s books about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.!

    The American Library Association is reporting that book bans again hit record highs in 2023, affecting 1,915 unique titles. Indeed, studies have shown for years that book banning is on the rise—and books by and about Black people have been increasingly targeted. More than 300 books written by predominantly Black authors about Black history, culture, or their experiences were banned in 2021 alone.

    Wondering how to help? Organize, petition local school boards and, of course, start buying, reading, and sharing those banned books today!

  2. Lying about critical race theory (CRT)

    Critical race theory is a way to study and understand racism in America. It's a long-overdue correction to the whitewashed history taught in most American schools. But despite how important it is, it’s rarely if ever taught in K-12 classrooms. So, why is there a movement to ban it from being taught or even mentioned in, you guessed it, K-12 classrooms?

    What they really want is to ensure that students hear as little as possible about racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice. Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project (in which she and other journalists, historians, and artists brilliantly examine four centuries of Black experience in America), explains what the bans are really about:

    “What they’re really banning is the teaching of a more accurate accounting of history that examines racism…in our country…[T]hese laws are really memory laws where they’re trying to shape our memory by erasing it.”

  3. Restricting what teachers and textbooks can say about racism in the classroom

    Texas is one of an increasing number of states that have passed laws limiting what teachers can say about Black history and racism. (This isn’t Texas lawmakers’ first rodeo when it comes to promoting a problematic and incomplete reading of history: Not too long ago, textbooks used across Texas schools referred to people who were enslaved as “workers" and "immigrants.” Other Texas textbooks had downplayed the role of slavery in the Civil War and the impact of Jim Crow.)

    The 2021 Texas law bans teaching about critical race theory AND the 1619 Project, and dictates that if teachers talk about current events, they must “give deference to both sides”—all of which has had a chilling effect on classroom discussions, as well as students’ understanding of what it means to be Black in America.

    The Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers expressed outrage at this censorship and rightly defended teachers’ ability to “provide balanced conversations with students on controversial issues.”

  4. Blocking an AP course in African American studies

    The Florida Department of Education decided last year that a new Advanced Placement (AP) course on African American studies would not be offered in state high schools.

    The department absurdly claimed that the college-level course—which comprehensively surveys Black history and culture—violates Florida law, is not “historically accurate,” and “lacks educational value.” Perhaps the law it violates is Florida’s “Stop Woke Act,” which essentially prohibits Florida schools and businesses from making white people feel uncomfortable about all the racism perpetrated by white people?

    Not long after this decision, the College Board, which oversees AP courses, announced that it was stripping much of the subject matter that conservative critics had objected to. No more discussions of Black Lives Matter. No more books about the Black LGBTQ+ experience. In this case, erasing history proved all too easy.

  5. Banning implicit-bias training

    The goal of implicit-bias training is to help people understand and acknowledge the biases they don’t even realize they have—and to help them stop participating in racist and discriminatory behavior.

    The good news: President Biden rescinded the previous president’s federal ban on implicit-bias training, “reaffirming,” in the president’s words, “the federal government’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and accessibility…Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies."

    The bad news: Florida’s Stop Woke Act, no surprise!, bans implicit bias training at the state level. A judge blocked that ban from taking effect (the issue is still working its way through the courts), but other states, like Tennessee, have already passed similar legislation.


Libraries Off-Limits: Examining Florida’s Book Bans

Episode 7 of the "Into The Mix" Podcast


Celebrate and Preserve Black History!

Politicians are trying to censor Black history and culture, but we won’t let them. Not this month, not ever. Black history is American history. And to create a racially just future, we must acknowledge and learn from the past.

That’s why, this Black History Month, we recommend checking out the amazing 1619 Project docuseries. Then download Our History Has Always Been Contraband, a free e-book edited by Colin Kaepernick, to learn more about the centuries-long history of censoring Black culture in America—and how we can fight back.

Finally, head over to Freedom to Learn to find out what you can do to support the movement to teach and celebrate Black history free of political intimidation and censorship.