Five of the nine Black students who enrolled in Little Rock’s all-white Central High School in 1957 have spoken out against Arkansas’ decision to ban AP African American studies from counting toward credit for graduation.
As teenagers, the group was part of school integration efforts on the heels of the 1954 Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The Arkansas National Guard was ordered to deny the teens access to the school. However, then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the National Guard and sent U.S. Army troops to escort them into the building.
Students can still take the class in the state, but their coursework may not count toward the state’s high school graduation requirements.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders approved the decision.
“We’ve got to get back to the basics of teaching math, of teaching reading, writing and American history. And we cannot perpetuate a lie to our students and push this propaganda leftist agenda teaching our kids to hate America and hate one another,” Huckabee told Fox News last week.
Six Arkansas schools will still keep the pilot class in their curriculum, but the state is being accused of trying to whitewash history.
“I think the attempts to erase history is working for the Republican Party,” Elizabeth Eckford, a member of Little Rock Nine, told NBC News. “They have some bogeymen that are really popular with their supporters.”
The Arkansas Department of Education defended its decision in a public statement.
“Until it’s determined whether it violates state law and teaches or trains teachers in CRT and indoctrination, the state will not move forward. The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination,” the department stated.