Lawmaker Branded as a 'Racist' Accuses Dems of Trying to Ban Books

Lawmaker Branded as a 'Racist' Accuses Dems of Trying to Ban Books

After being called a racist for saying that some slaves were paid, Rep. Andrade is accusing Dems of hiding history

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 4, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—A Republican Lawmaker accused of racism for saying that slaves were paid has turned the spotlight on Democrats, claiming that liberals want to ban books that support his assertion that some slaves received wages.

Last week, Republican Rep. Alex Andrade took part in a heated discussion over HB 1291 on the House Floor, a bill banning "identity politics" in teacher preparation courses. During the debate, Andrade argued that teaching that some slaves were paid is a necessity.

“There is only one way to teach about slavery in Florida, and that is that it was evil,” Andrade said. “But if we can’t have an honest discussion and say that some slaves were paid for their work, and were able to actually get a portion of payment that slave owners received for their labor, then we’re afraid of teaching accurate history.”

“If you were not aware that some slaves received payment—not payment that was good, not payment that was valid, not payment that was moral—but if we can’t even have that discussion in this room, what hope do we have to teach and actually agree on facts? What hope do we have?” he continued.

According to the Monticello Museum—which has preserved founding father and slaveowner Thomas Jefferson's home—some enslaved people received small amounts of money, but overall that was the exception—not the rule.

Andrade faced massive backlash over his comments, with Democrats accusing him of racism and attempting to "whitewash history".

“Rep. Andrade’s comments today are just the latest example of the GOP’s obsession with whitewashing history,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried said in a statement provided to Rolling Stone.  “Slavery was a horrific evil...and Florida’s teachers should be able to teach that in the classroom,"

"Florida Republicans’ continued attempts to teach our children otherwise is immoral and outrageous, and every Republican elected in Florida should be put on record answering for Andrade’s comments — any answer that tries to justify or whitewash the evils of slavery should be considered disqualifying for office,” Fried continued.

Meanwhile, Andrade has not backed down. On the social media platform "X" he claimed that Florida Democrats "want to ban the 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass' from Florida school libraries. They’re fighting tooth and nail to keep this passage from his book out of Florida schools," he wrote.

The passage in question, by former slave and author Frederick Douglass, discusses the money given to Douglass by his slavemaster. Andrade posted a screenshot of one passage that stated, "In the course of one year from the time I left Mr. Gardner's, I was able to command the highest wages given to the most experienced calkers. I was now of some importance to my master. I was bringing him from six to seven dollars per week. I sometimes brought him nine dollars per week: my wages were a dollar and a half a day."

The teacher prep course bill, HB 1291, passed the House Floor. Its Senate companion has yet to see the Senate Floor.


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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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