The Union League honored Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis on January 24th. His guests were met with police escorts, peaceful protestors and other demonstrators; who shamed The Union League for this event.
Also referred to as the “Loyal League”, the Union league was established to encourage Americans to support the Union during the American Civil War and to promote President Abraham Lincoln for his reelection in 1864. It was also known as “the first African American Radical Republican organization”.
Contained by police on bikes as they barricaded protestors with fences, “shame” was shouted at those entering through the front and side entrance of The Union League (off of Sansom street). Protesters, joined by NAACP members and Philadelphia Councilmembers, demanded that the league cancel the event. After refusing to cancel, DeSantis received the highest honor from the club: The Union League’s gold medal for those deemed deserving of the country’s respect, an honor that was first awarded to President Abraham Lincoln.
Philadelphians were clear in their message to DeSantis. They did not want him in their city. A man in a Philadelphia Eagles jacket explained that he was at work but heard booing outside from the protest prompting him to join the crowd.
DeSantis received the honor soon after he proposed to ban College Board’s Advanced Placement African American History courses in Florida. Most recently, he threatened to ban all Advanced Placement courses as a part of his public dispute with College Board. New Jersey responded to DeSantis’s threat by expanding their African American History courses, making the courses available in more schools. Democratic Governor Philip Murphy of New Jersey announced this expansion, adding, “it’s unacceptable and frankly, shameful” that this ban is being considered. Advanced Placement classes allow high school students to take college level courses and the ability to acquire college credits. If awarded college credits, high school students benefit greatly through merit, lowered tuition, and boosts in their grade-point-average.
“Governor DeSantis wishes to completely sanitize our country, our classrooms, college lecture halls of black history,” said activist Melissa Robbins who attended and led much of the protest. “We cannot and we will not ignore the horrific atrocities that occurred against our black ancestors on American soil.”