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Gov. DeSantis green lights task force for Florida Museum of Black History

Norine Dworkin

Norine Dworkin

Editor in Chief/VoxPopuli

May 12, 2023

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed HB 1441, creating a task force to develop plans for a Florida Museum of Black History. The bill was introduced by Democratic state Rep. Bruce Antone of Ocoee (above).

The task force, to be appointed by July 31, will consist of nine members, chosen by the governor, speaker of the house and president of the senate. As outlined in the bill, three task force members must have at least five years experience as tenured faculty in history at a Florida university or in the fields of historical research and publication, archival design or preservation, multipurpose public building design or construction, the hospitality and service industry, business, finance, marketing; law or education.

The task force will have one year to put together a report for the governor and legislature leadership with its recommendations for the museum's design, construction and location. Antone told VoxPopuli  he would like to see the museum located in Orlando. 

“It’s time for something like this in Florida," he said in April. "A museum that really captures the history of Black folks and the contributions they made to Florida. It is not just about slavery, it is about Black people in Florida.”

Task force members will also make recommendations for the museum operation and administration, marketing, as well s educational materials to complement school curricula and exhibits.

The law mandates that the museum include materials relating to African-American military participation; the history of slavery and segregation in Florida; notable African-Americans; the history of Florida’s historically Black colleges and universities, and a focus on the prevention of genocide.

Once the task force submits its report, due before July 2024, it will expire.

“Black Americans have a rich history of contributions to Florida’s history having played a significant role in shaping Florida’s culture and society, despite facing significant challenges and discrimination throughout their history,” Antone told Florida National News. “The museum will showcase Florida’s diverse history and passage of this bill is a first step in the preservation.”

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