Maryland Gov. Wes Moore stepped into national political issues Sunday, using a graduation speech in Atlanta to blast conservative attempts at book banning and curriculum restrictions.
“I look around our country and I see book banning. I look around the country right now and I’m seeing people being censored, teachers being censored. I see curriculum with the truth being taken out,” the Democratic governor said to graduates of Morehouse College, an all-male historically black college. “This is not just a threat to our history. It is a threat to our strength.”
He continued: “When politicians ban books and muzzle educators, they say it’s an effort to prevent ‘discomfort and guilt’ – but we know that’s not true.”
The truth, the Democratic governor said, is that those who wish to silence or rewrite the history of Black and brown people are actually afraid of “people understanding their power.”
“I fear we are watching the early decay of a deep rot that threatens to hollow out our future by eliminating our past,” he said. “Those who yearn to destroy history will not stop at our history; they will go after the history of those we know, too.” The governor listed other groups whose history has been attacked, including indigenous people, Jews, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ Americans and women.
“A threat to any history is a threat to all history,” he said. He called on graduates to collect, understand and celebrate history, including Black history.
Across the nation, Republicans and conservatives have pushed to limit books and curricula that address issues such as racial injustice, human sexuality and abuse.
Moore is currently the only Black governor in the United States and only the third elected Black governor in the nation’s history, putting him in a unique position to comment on issues affecting people of color. He noted in his speech that he was criticized for a somber ceremony on his inauguration day at Annapolis City Dock, where he paid respect to enslaved people who were brought to America at that very spot.
In recent days, Moore also has given national interviews on the issue of gun control, after signing into law measures that will further restrict who can obtain concealed carry handgun permits and where those guns can be carried.