A Florida GOP rep who backed the state’s slavery curriculum is helping open a Black history museum.
Rep. Berny Jacques said it’s “misinformation” that the state is teaching slavery “to be a benefit.”
He’s on a task force in charge of including the history of slavery in the state in the new museum.
A Republican state representative in Florida who recently backed the state’s new slavery curriculum was just appointed to a task force to help create the first state-run Black history museum, Bay News 9 reported.
Rep. Berny Jacques, along with two other representatives, was tapped by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week and will help plan the building and operation of the Florida Museum of Black History, according to Bay News 9.
The Speaker of the House and Senate president will each get to appoint three members, too, Bay News 9 reported.
Jacques backed the state’s controversial new standards on teaching about slavery, telling Bay News 9 in an interview earlier this month, “Our curriculum teaches all of the history,” adding, “It’s a very robust stand-alone standard.”
He added: “This notion that we are distorting and portraying slavery to be a benefit is totally wrong” and blamed “misinformation.”
Last month, the Florida Board of Education released a newly approved set of standards for teaching Black history in the state’s public schools. The standards tell Florida teachers to instruct that slaves “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” Insider previously reported.
Slaves “made the best out of a terrible situation,” Jacques told Bay News 9. “If anything it teaches about the resilience of African Americans and how they were able to uplift themselves and be a part of our economy.”
Now, Jacques will be a key member in opening the state’s first museum to honor Black history.
Jacques did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“My main task on this task force is emphasize that Black history is part of American history,” Jacques said, Bay News 9 reported. “My focus will be to make sure that this is a museum that all can have pride in and come in and to see the contributions of Black Americans here in the state of Florida.”
Democratic state Rep. Bruce Antone proposed the idea for the museum in March. It unanimously passed in both the House and the Senate, and DeSantis signed it into law in May.
The bill says the museum will focus on the history of slavery and segregation in the state as well as notable African Americans in Florida.