(RNS) — When the Rev. Rhonda Thomas decided to create a toolkit to help teach Black history outside the public school system — after Florida legislators approved revisions to its required instruction — she expected Black churches like her own would be the ones to use it.
Thomas, the executive director of Faith in Florida, was correct but not entirely so: Some Florida congregations that aren’t predominantly Black are using her organization’s list of books, videos and documentaries, along with faith leaders from more than 20 other states.
What started in May as a state-focused response has attracted interest in a far wider stretch of the country than Thomas ever imagined. She hopes users of the suggested readings in the online toolkit will come away knowing more about Black history — including burnings of Black churches and massacres of Black communities that happened in her state, along with other Southern states.