The Louisiana State legislature is currently considering a bill (HB1035) that would require all public school students to learn — and in some cases, recite — parts of the Declaration of Independence. The part that they would recite is:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
But state representative Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport) is opposing the bill. She and fellow state Rep. Pat Smith (D-Baton Rogue) argued that documents written when slavery was prevalent should not be required curriculum.
According to remarks she made from the House floor last week, Norton believes that the Declaration itself may have racist undertones:
"One thing I do know is, all men are not created equal.
When I think back in 1776, July the 4th, African-Americans were slaves, and for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think is a little bit unfair to us to ask those children to recite something that’s not the truth."
Norton rounded out her rant with a complaint that Martin Luther King Jr. had not yet been born in 1776:
“In 1776, Dr. King was not even born. African-Americans were in slavery, so since they were in slavery, the Declaration of Independence say we are ‘all created equal,’ we were not created equal because in 1776, July the 4th, I nor you nor any of us were born, nor was Dr. King born, so we were in slavery, and to have our children repeat again and again documents that were not even validated, I don’t think that that’s fair.”
The bill's sponsor, State Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs) pointed out that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had not shared the same negative feelings about the nation's founding documents:
"This is what Martin Luther King said:
'When the architects of our great Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note which every American was to fall heir…'
He said this would guarantee freedom for the rest of our posterity."
When the hosts of “Fox and Friends” discussed the matter, they brought in regular commentator Deneen Borelli.
Borelli didn't mince words, pointing out that Norton's own party, the Democrat Party, was the home of the KKK and had even opposed the Civil Rights Act:
“For her to be attacking the Declaration of Independence, that is attacking liberty, that is attacking freedom. People should not let her get away with this.”
For the time being, due to pressure from Reps. Smith and Norton, the Louisiana State House has temporarily tabled the bill.