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The Japanese American National Museum Condemns On-Going Efforts to Erase the History of Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement from School Curricula

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is deeply troubled by allegations that the administration at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, sought to disallow information about slavery and the civil rights movement from the school’s student-led Black History Month program. In response, over 200 students walked out of class. This incident is part of a national trend to revise history and block access to historical resources in K–12 and higher education. Recently, University of South Florida, University of Florida, and Florida State University students as well as some high school students in Florida walked out of their classrooms to protest the state’s plan to ban colleges and universities from having programs about critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“To omit major historical events like slavery and the civil rights movements from any kind of educational programming is to deny that racism shaped this nation’s laws and daily life. To disallow educational programs on critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion is to revise American history and deny that white supremacy, racial hatred, and systemic oppression have created years of generational inequity and trauma that are still being reckoned with today. When we censor history, we stifle freedom of expression and undermine democracy. An educational curriculum that is based on facts strengthens knowledge about the historical record and fosters critical thinking about the important lessons of history that help to make sense of the present,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO of JANM.