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President Johnson and VP Harris
Press Statement July 21, 2023

NAACP President speaks out in Florida in Defense of Black History

President Johnson and VP Harris


July 21, 2023

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

WASHINGTON — Today, NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson issued the following statement after joining Vice President Kamala Harris in Jacksonville, Florida to discuss the state Board of Education's newly approved standards for teaching the history of slavery in public schools. The new standards convey a sanitized and dishonest telling of Black history, suggesting that enslaved people developed skills that "could be applied for their personal benefit."

"The NAACP commends Vice President Harris and the Biden Administration for prioritizing the preservation and accurate teaching of our history. Let's be clear - these hate-inspired policies are a cancer that, if not stopped, will spread throughout this nation, destroying hard-won victories and setting us back decades, if not centuries.

"We refuse to go back. That's why the NAACP's travel advisory remains in effect, and that's why, despite the threats we may face, we'll continue to show up and speak out against these harmful policies and the malicious actors behind them." 

Florida's new harmful rules emphasize the NAACP's continued commitment to standing up, and speaking out against regressive policies and malicious legislators. 

In May 2023, the NAACP Board of Directors issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida. The NAACP continues to support local and state efforts to ensure that Black history is told accurately and honestly despite Governor Ron DeSantis' aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools. 

Pictures from today's event in Jacksonville are available here and should be credited to NAACP. 



Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF –  was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation's first civil and human rights law organization and shares our commitment to equal rights.