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Group of mothers in Tennessee want ban on schools teaching any aspect of civil rights history

A group of conservative moms in Tennessee crusading against "critical race theory" has expanded the scope of their objections, now campaigning against teaching details about the civil rights movement in schools.

According to Judd Legum on Twitter, the group of mothers, called "Moms for Liberty," filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Education demanding it remove several civil rights-focused books from its school curriculum.

The targeted books include Frances Ruffin's "Martin Luther King Jr and the March on Washington," and "Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story" by Ruby Bridges.

The group cited photos in the Ruffin book of "white firemen blasting Black children to the point of 'bruising their bodies and ripping off their clothes'" and of segregated water fountains, arguing that the images imposed extreme emotional hardships on students, even if they are depictions of reality.

"Some children are seeing counselors to overcome the emotional trauma inflicted upon them by what they learned in Tennessee public education," the group claimed in the filing. "Targeting elementary age children with daily lessons on fighting past injustices as if they were occurring in present day violates Tennessee law and will sow the seeds of racial strife."

The group's filing claimed that the state's literacy curriculum was promoting a "heavily biased agenda" that makes children "hate their country, each other and/or themselves."

The group's complaint was rejected by the state's Department of Education on the grounds that the books were part of last year's curriculum.

The Tennessean reported that the district is only authorised to investigate allegations that occurred during the 2021-2022 school year and subsequent years.

However, if the books are used again in the coming school year, the group will likely file another objection.

The group bills itself as an ostensibly grassroots organisation, but has received financial support from conservative celebrities, politicians and political action committees.

Moms for Liberty also came under fire in November for offering a bounty for members that reported teachers that taught lessons that violated New Hampshire's law restricting race discussions in school classrooms.

"We’ve got $500 for the person that first successfully catches a public school teacher breaking this law," the group tweeted.

The bounty offer earned them a scolding from the state's Republican Governor Chris Sununu's spokesman.

"The Governor condemns the tweet referencing 'bounties' and any sort of financial incentive is wholly inappropriate and has no place," he said.