I remember learning why Frederick Douglass had two s’s in his last name when I was in the fifth grade. He added the extra s in order to distinguish himself from his legal owner. Black slaves carried the last names of their owner. The legacy has continued. Black Americans carry the last name of their families former legal owner. I recall admiring the subtle act of rebellion. I respect Frederick;s strong sense of self during the times of legal slavery.
I remember wanting to change my last name. However, I didn’t want to change my name to X like Malcom Little did. I wanted to change the spelling of my name. There is no way to change the spelling of my and have it make phonetic sense so that idea was fleeting. But I have taken strong interest in Black American studies since then. Learning about Black people’s history in America has given me perspective, admiration for Black Americans and a strong sense of self, pride and belonging.
The story of Black people in America is very dramatic. It makes me sad, angry, confused and dismayed. But some of the stories of Black people in America are historic and awe inspiring. Black Americans are ironically very patriotic and have stood up for the American way more than anyone else. Other disenfranchised groups have modeled their campaigns for equality and rights on the African American struggle in this country. African American history is fascinating.
The governor of Florida wants to block advance studies of African American studies in Florida. He wants to limit the history of what is taught about Black people in American schools with the Stop WOKE Act. Rob DeSantis doesn’t want any subject matter about race taught in schools. I’m unsure how you teach American history without talking about ethnic background when you consider the vast majority of this country has ancestors that originated outside of North America.
The current political attitudes in the US are very disappointing and insulting. Republicans are firmly committed to dishonesty and controlling Americans. They are also devoted to presenting White people as morally righteous and admirable. The agenda of White Americans is thought of as destined to be and all their actions are thought to be justifiable. That’s not history. That’s not education. That’s propaganda.