For Immediate Release
Rep. Bowman Contact:
Sen. Booker Contact:

NEWS: Rep. Bowman, Sen. Booker Reintroduce African American History Act, Urge Nation to Tell the Truth About Its Past

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jamaal Bowman Ed.D (NY-16) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the African American History Act in both the House and the Senate and urged leaders across the nation to tell the truth about the United States’ history of racism and white supremacy. The bill has been reintroduced with over 100 original co-sponsors in the House. 

“It is our moral imperative to tell the truth about our past to finally reconcile with this nation’s history of racism and white nationalism, and our legislation will serve as a vital component in our fight to do just that,” said Congressman Jamaal Bowman Ed.D (NY-16). “The truth is under attack by white supremacists attempting to ban Black history at all levels of education, but we know that a democracy cannot exist without access to truth. As a Black man and an educator, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for this nation to collectively commit to learning from our past. Senator Booker’s and my legislation invests $10 million over 5 years to support African American history education programs that will be available for students, parents, and teachers. The moment we are in requires a clear-eyed effort to ensure that everyone has access to resources and education that accurately recount African American history – including how the Black struggle for freedom has strengthened our society for all Americans and brought us closer to realizing the potential of our democracy.”

“The story of Black people in America is inextricably linked to the story of America. The fullness of this rich history must be told -- both its dark chapters and the light brought by generations of people determined to overcome and make our country better through an ongoing quest for justice,” said Senator Booker. “We have seen this happen far too many times throughout history – where some dismiss our important stories and intentionally change the way history is told to fit political agendas. As we begin Black History Month, I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that will invest in initiatives to make African American history education programs more accessible to the public, help educators incorporate these programs into their curriculum, and develop additional resources focused on Black History for students and families to engage with.”

A multiracial democracy that ensures the social, economic, and political rights of all in the United States requires reconciling with American history and America’s original sin of slavery and white supremacy. In order to reconcile together as a nation, it’s critical that there are opportunities and dedicated resources for truth-telling.

Rep. Bowman’s and Senator Booker’s African American History Act invests $10 million over 5 years in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to support African American history education programs that are voluntarily available for students, parents, and educators. 

This bill will help the NMAAHC expand and improve upon their work in a variety of ways, including:

  • Developing and maintaining a variety of accessible resources to promote an understanding of African American history. This includes a collection of digital content, housed on the NMAAHC website, to assist educators, students, and families across the country in teaching about and engaging with African American history
  • Engaging with the public through programming, resources, and social media to increase awareness of African American history through a social justice and anti-bias lens
  • Convening experts and creating and disseminating scholarly work
  • Translating new and existing NMAAHC work into multiple languages

Further, the bill supports the NMAAHC’s work to increase national capacity for African American history education, including:

  • developing and disseminating high quality pedagogy related to teaching African American history
  • providing opportunities for Professional Development for early childhood, elementary, and secondary teachers
  • designing and implementing a teacher fellowship program
  • engaging with local and state leaders interested in incorporating these resources in curricula

“Kids need access to age-appropriate, honest lessons about this country’s history — its successes, its struggles, and its failures,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “These malicious, politically-motivated efforts thwart our efforts to have children think critically, expand their perspectives, and prepare them for whatever comes next.  This bill will help our kids have a thorough understanding of the history and contributions of African Americans. We support Rep. Bowman and Sen. Booker in ensuring our kids have the right to learn, the right to think for themselves, and the right to information.”

“The American Psychological Association applauds Congressman Bowman for introducing the African American History Act, which would provide funding for increased resources, technical support, professional development, and dissemination of research and teaching materials related to African American History,” said Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. “An accurate teaching of history is not only vital to our development and well-being as individuals, but also as a nation. Understanding our past provides the ability to make systemic improvements to the lives of all of our citizens, including by eradicating disparities in educational attainment, socio-economic status, and healthcare outcomes.” 

“In a time when the threats to our freedoms are being attacked in manners not seen in decades, there is but one grounder, history,” said Mondale Robinson, Founder of the Black Male Voter Project. “An unmolested history that accounts all of America’s past events, and most particularly in human affairs is mandated to comprehend both where we are and how we got here. Which requires a robust commitment to any teachings that shade in unfinished learnings of said affairs. And for this very reason I stand one-hundred percent behind, beside and in defense of Rep. Bowman’s re-introduction of the African-American History Act, for it is the missing anthology of this country and brings us all closer to a fuller appreciation of America’s historical scholarship.”

“As a Black girl growing up in Philadelphia, I was fortunate that my late father, a history teacher, taught my sisters and me (and his students) about the important role our enslaved ancestors and other Black people have played in the struggle and progress that has made America what it is today. All the educators I know understand that an accurate, well-rounded, and inclusive education — one where every student sees themselves and others — fosters joy in learning and a deep understanding of the beauty and complexity of our full American story,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “Whether implementing book bans or blocking Advance Placement African American history courses, attacks on teaching honest education are continuing throughout this country. The African American History Act helps to counteract these assaults on our students’ freedom to learn all of our nation’s history. I applaud Congressman Jamaal Bowman for introducing this much-needed legislation and urge Congress to make it law.”

Original Cosponsors (104): Reps. Alma S. Adams, PhD, Jake Auchincloss, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Joyce Beatty, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Suzanne Bonamici, Shontel M. Brown, Cori Bush, Tony Cárdenas, Andre’ Carson, Troy A. Carter, Sr., Greg Casar, Sean Casten, Kathy Castor, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Judy Chu, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, James Clyburn, Steve Cohen, Gerald E. Connolly, Joe Courtney, Danny K. Davis, Suzan K. Delbene, Mark DeSaulnier, Debbie Dingell, Lloyd Doggett, Veronica Escobar, Adriano Espaillat, Lizzie Fletcher, Lois Frankel, Maxwell Frost, Jesús “Chuy” García, Al Green, Dwight Evans, Raul M. Grijalva, Jahana Hayes, Brian Higgins, James A. Himes, Steven Horsford, Sara Jacobs, Pramila Jayapal, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Sydney Kamlager-Dove, William Keating, Robin L. Kelly, Ro Khanna, Greg Landsman, Rick Larsen, John B. Larson, Barbara Lee, Summer Lee, Teresa Leger Fernández, Ted W. Lieu, Stephen F. Lynch, Kathy Manning, Lucy McBath, Betty McCollum, James P. McGovern, Gregory W. Meeks, Grace Meng, Kweisi Mfume, Gwen S. Moore, Joseph D. Morelle, Jared E. Moskowitz, Seth Moulton, Jerrold Nadler, Eleanor Homes Norton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Jimmy Panetta, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Scott Peters, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley, Mike Quigley, Delia Ramirez, Jamie Raskin, Deborah K. Ross, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, David Scott, Terri A. Sewell, Darren Soto, Haley Stevens, Mark Takano, Shri Thanedar, Bennie Thompson, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Jill Tokuda, Paul D. Tonko, Ritchie Torres, Norma J. Torres, Juan Vargas, Marc Veasey, Nydia M. Velázquez, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Susan Wild, Nikema Williams, Frederica S. Wilson

Endorsing organizations: 914United, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), American Psychological Association (APA), Badass Teachers Association, Black Male Voter Project, Black to the Future Action Fund, Bronx Climate Justice North, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Children Are More than Test Scores, The Coalition for Understanding Racism Through Education (CURE), The Collective New Rochelle, Connecticut BATs, The Education Trust, Hip Hop Caucus, Hispanic Democrats of Westchester, Illinois Families for Public Schools, Indivisible New Rochelle, Indivisible Scarsdale, Indivisible Westchester, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Journey for Justice Alliance, Mount Vernon City School District, Mujeres en New Rochelle, Muslim Media Corporation, National Action Network Inc., National Education Association, National Urban League, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Network for Public Education, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social, New Rochelle FUSE, New Settlement, New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), North Bronx Racial Justice, New York City Coalition for Educating Families Together, NYCD16-Indivisible, Oregon BATs, Oregon Save Our Schools, Parents for Public Schools of Greenwood & Leflore County Inc., Parents Supporting Parents NY, Pastors for Florida Children, Power of Ten, Rochester Coalition for Public Education, SchoolHouse Connection, Teach the Truth - Westchester, United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Uniting to Save Our Schools, Universal Hip Hop Museum, Yonkers Family YMCA


For a one-pager on the legislation, click here.

For a section by section on the legislation, click here.