• Two members of the Little Rock Nine criticized a state decision regarding an AP African American Studies course.
  • The state’s Dept. of Education won’t allow credits to count toward graduation for the pilot course.
  • The department says the course could run afoul of an anti-CRT order signed by Gov. Huckabee Sanders.

Two members of the Little Rock Nine — the group of Black students who in 1957 integrated the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School while being threatened by an angry mob — are blasting the Arkansas Department of Education over restrictions placed on an Advanced Placement African American Studies course set to be offered this year.

After Arkansas earlier this week said that the course, which remains in its pilot stage, would not be counted toward high school graduation credits, six schools said that they would still continue teaching the course. In the North Little Rock and Jacksonville North Pulaski school districts, officials announced that the course would count as a “local elective” instead.

The Arkansas Department of Education has argued that there is uncertainty as to whether or not coursework goes against an executive order signed earlier this year by Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders that bars “critical race theory” from being taught in the state’s classrooms.

In interviews with NBC News, Little Rock Nine members Elizabeth Eckford and Terrence Roberts spoke out against the state’s actions.

“I think the attempts to erase history is working for the Republican Party,” Eckford told the news outlet. “They have some boogeymen that are really popular with their supporters.”

Roberts, who told the outlet that the group “suffered physically and emotionally” in the effort to integrate Central High, said that at a “bare minimum” laws prohibiting what students can and cannot learn shouldn’t be on the books.

Roberts recounted that at some commemorations of the group integrating Central High, some have sought to shield the images of the angry mob incensed that Black students dared to believe that they could belong at the high school as well. He also slammed the prohibition of critical race theory — which is almost exclusively taught at a collegiate level — as “ridiculous.”

The Arkansas Department of Education in a statement stood by its decision.

“Until it’s determined whether it violates state law and teaches or trains teachers in CRT and indoctrination, the state will not move forward,” the department said. “The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination.”

During a Thursday interview on Fox News, the governor reaffirmed the decision of the education department and stated that she wanted schools to focus on “the basics of teaching math, of teaching reading, writing and American history.”

“We cannot perpetuate a lie to our students and push this propaganda leftist agenda teaching our kids to hate America and hate one another,” she said.

The AP African American Studies course was offered by Central High during the previous school year, and it will also be an option for students during the new school year.

One of the defining images of the civil-rights movement is a photograph of a then-15-year-old Eckford as she walked to Central High wearing sunglasses and holding her schoolbooks as she faced an angry mob.

Huckabee Sanders, who was elected to the governorship last November after serving as White House press secretary under then-President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2019, is also a graduate of Central High.