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Gov. Ralph Northam

Governor Ralph Northam, who has made a number of moves including calling for the removal of Confederate monuments and signage since his own blackface scandal earlier this year has now announced the establishment of a Commission on African American History Education. The Commission is “charged with reviewing Virginia’s history standards, and the instructional practices, content, and resources currently used to teach African American history in the Commonwealth,” according to a news release from the Governor’s office (excerpted below).

Hampton – Governor Northam made the announcement speaking at the 2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing, a ceremony to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America at Point Comfort in 1619.  “The full history of Virginia is complex, contradictory, and often untold—and we must do a better job of making sure that every Virginia graduate enters adult life with an accurate and thorough understanding of our past, and the pivotal role that American Americans have played in building and perfecting our Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam.

“The important work of this Commission will help ensure that Virginia’s standards of learning are inclusive of African American history and allow students to engage deeply, drawing connections between historic racial inequities and their continuous influence on our communities today.” The Executive Order tasks the Commission with issuing a report no later than July 1, 2020, with recommendations for improving the student experience.