Rep. Hakeem questions Republicans on Black history bill

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – “We feel this is something that needs to happen not only for black folks, for people like myself, but for the broader community and white students to bring about that balance and understanding,” says State Representative Yusuf Hakeem.

He is asking his Republican colleagues why they won’t review a Black history bill that he put forth back in April.

He says he was told it would be set aside for summer study.

But now, he says State House leadership has had a change of tune.

“They don’t even want to discuss the issue which is very unfortunate.”

The bill would provide Tennessee public school students in grades five through eight with instruction on Black history in the U-S.

“Tuskegee Airmen, George Washington Carver – a more in-depth understanding on these individuals and the contributions they made to the American experience.”

Hakeem says he was initially given assurance that the bill would be discussed.

“The Chairman of the committee, Chairman White, he says that the speaker says no. So as a result of that, what we’re doing is trying to enlighten and give more broader understanding to the general public.”

He says he feels they are ignoring the interests of his constituents.

“I feel that when you ignore me as a state representative, you are ignoring the people that I represent, the communities that I represent and other representatives who have the same concern about inclusive history in this state.”

We reached out to numerous Republican members in the State House, and none were available today for comment.

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