ORLANDO, Fla. — The Audubon Park community is banding together to host an AP African American Studies Course open to people all over the country.

What You Need To Know

  • The AP African American course is no longer taught in Florida schools

  • A local pastor of a church decided to offer a similar course at her library

  • People of all ages can sign up

The idea came after discussions earlier this year about how American American history was to be taught in Florida. 

Sarah Robinson, pastor of Audubon Park Covenant Church, has a deep love of books. She grew up the granddaughter of a librarian and earned a bachelor’s in elementary education. That is why when certain books started to get banned or challenged across the state, she decided to start the Right to Read Audubon Park Community Library, housed at her church.

“To me, access to knowledge is vitally important and so this seemed like a logical thing as part of the community and helping community thrive that we could do,” Robinson said. 

She said the support for the library took off with many people wanting to get involved. She explained there was a growing frustration among them around knowledge being limited in the state.

Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis rejected the framework for the College Board’s AP African American studies course and The Florida Department of Education told the College Board it would bar the course unless they made changes. According to the College Board, no public school in Florida is currently offering the pilot program of the course. So the Right to Read Community Library decided to offer a version of the course themselves.

“We said well we’ve got lots of of knowledgeable folks and we have access because it was put out to the curriculum of what the topics were, lets see if we can develop a community course where people can still have access to the information,” Robinson said. 

They began to sign up people for the course, and the response was overwhelming.

“There is clearly a lot of interest. We’ve had just hundreds and hundreds of people sign up, way more people than we expected,” Robinson said.

While they can not offer the AP tests and many of those signed up are adults, she said they will read source materials, answer questions to reflect on the topics and host discussions at the church for those that are local. Robinson is taking the course and can’t wait to get started.

“The first couple are actually African, the continent of Africa, African history and that is a history I know so very little about,” she said.

Robinson is hopeful this will fill in gaps in education for those wanting to learn more.

“That will only enrich us and empower us as well as the students taking these courses to understand more about the world and therefore be able to continue to make it a better place,” she said.

Robinson said if the course goes well, they plan on running a summer intensive course next year.