In 1994 and 2002, the Florida Legislature passed the following law that required instruction for African and African American History. This law provides that “Members of the instructional staff of the public schools shall teach efficiently and faithfully, using books and materials required, following prescribed course of study, and employing approved methods of instruction.”
“§ 233.061 (2) (g) 1994 and 1003.42(2)(h) 2002 as amended, F.S. reads, “The history of African Americans, including the history of African Peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the contributions of African Americans to society.”
Perspective on the African and African American History Model
A close scrutiny of the new law, Florida Statute 1003.42 (2) (h) 2002, requires instructions in the history of African Americans, including the history of African people, and points in the direction of a new emphasis on the teaching of ancient African history and connections to African Americans.
However, the model, which follows, clearly points to fact that ancient African history surpassed slavery and post slavery. It provides a positive set of information indicating that Ancient Africans were developed and civilized peoples who created complex and sophisticated societies. Many African societies built classical universities covering such diverse disciplines as natural sciences, extensive literary forms, and politics.
An example of this development according to Clarke (1981) was the University of Sankore in Timbuktu, which stood for over 500 years. The Moroccans and faculty destroyed the university in 1591 and scholars were exiled. Ahmed Baba authored over 40 books on such themes as theology, astronomy, ethnography, and biography. His rich library of 1600 books was lost during his expatriation from Timbuktu. Therefore, any model for teaching African history must focus on the rich, yet forgotten history of these African civilizations, and the Golden Ages in Africa which were unmatched by any other ancient civilization at the time.