February 26, 2022

Robert Barnette, President

Virginia NAACP Statement on Governor Youngkin’s Interim DOE Report

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia State Conference NAACP (Virginia NAACP) is outraged at Governor Younkin’s Executive Order One and the subsequent Interim report submitted by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.

Superintendent Balow has in effect declared war on teaching accurate American History by erroneously characterizing truth as divisive and outlawing previous efforts to bring about racial equity. Amy Tillerson-Brown, Ph.D., and chair of the Virginia NAACP Education Committee said, “…none of the resources Secretary Balow requested be rescinded or modified are discriminatory in that they do not promote unjust or prejudicial treatment based on race or gender. Instead, these recommendations will work to unravel

the progress our Commonwealth has made towards racial equity in education.”

The Governor cannot perpetuate this false narrative of “divisive concepts.” Virginia students have the right to an education that is accurate and without censorship.

“Virginia has a long torrid history as it pertains to educating Black children. Black slaves in Virginia were prohibited by law and practice from learning to read or write. Even when Virginia established a free public education system, educating Black children were a complete afterthought. “It is apparent that the Governor has no real interest in teaching our shared history. You cannot characterize truth as divisive and be open to teaching history accurately.” said President Robert N. Barnette, Jr.

In August 2021, the Virginia NAACP issued a press release affirming the importance of teaching Black history in public schools. The mission of the NAACP is in “…inform the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination and to seek its elimination…” we are obligated to protest this administration’s attempt to falsify American history through omission of critically important facts.

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Founded in 1935, the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100 NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is the preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocates for policies and programs to benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting