Florida school district cancels professor's
civil rights lecture over critical race
A Florida school district canceled
a professor's civil rights history
seminar for teachers, citing in
part concerns over "critical race
theory" - even though his lecture
had nothing to do with the topic.
J. Michael Butler, a history
professor at Flagler College in
St. Augustine, was scheduled to
give a presentation Saturday to
Osceola County School District
teachers called "The Long Civil
Rights Movement," which postulates
that the civil rights movement
preceded and post-dated Martin
Luther King Jr. by decades.
He said that he was shocked to learn
why the seminar had been canceled
through an email Wednesday but that
he wasn't surprised because educators
feel increasingly intimidated over
teaching about race.
Less than 24 hours before Butler was
informed of the cancellation, a state
Senate committee advanced legislation
Tuesday at the behest of Republican
Gov. Ron DeSantis to block public
schools and private businesses from
making people feel "discomfort" when
they're taught about race. DeSantis
also wants to empower parents to sue
schools that teach critical race
"The victims of this censorship are
history and the truth," Butler said.
"The end game is they're going to
make teaching civil rights into
'critical race theory,' and it's not."
Butler said he hadn't shared his full
presentation with the school district.
In the presentation, which he provided
to NBC News, Butler doesn't mention
the theory, nor structural racism or
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