Black History Month Post-Mortem: What is An Appropriate History Lesson?
Black History Month (February) is officially over now, but some of its after-effects linger like nightmares. On March 1, a story appeared in the Florida Times-Union about a Black History Month assignment given to the second graders at Atlantic Beach Elementary School: to color in the scene of a lynching.
It's not that lynching and Jim Crow weren't a part of Black History and shouldn't be discussed — they most certainly ought to be! The current effort to reinvent the history of slavery and its aftermath, to present a "friendly" face, is just as misguided and stupid as presenting violent death to seven-year-olds.
Volent, racially motivated death is a highly improper subject to present to second graders. Neither is it properly presented in a coloring assignment. Think about that for a moment — coloring in a dead black man, hanging from a tree branch, surrounded by angry white people, holding what look like torches and clubs. How appalling is that?
The story cites edHelper.com as the source of the coloring assignment, which was given to the class by either their teacher or by the teacher's aide. EdHelper.com is an online site for homeschooling parents, according to Yahoo Voices.
Apparently, edHelper.com's only comment on this particular bit of educational enhancement for Black History Month was that it was part of a package of material that was suitable for eigth and ninth graders. OK, I'm with them on the idea of presenting more difficult and problematic issues — such as lynching — to older children. But since when have 14 and 15 year-olds needed coloring assignments? I smell a rat.
I do not know, in this case, who or what the rat is. The complaining parent, a Mr. Hill, does not think his child's teacher is at fault but says nothing to exonerate the teacher's aide. So, she (or he) may have inserted this bit of racially improper ugliness into the day's lesson.
EdHelper.com is only so informative. They want one to subscribe to be able to access their information in its entirety and I'm not willing to make that kind of an outlay simply to track down one rat. In fairness, none of my further online research has yielded anything derogatory to edHelper.com — their reputation is high among both educators and homeschoolers. I can only conclude that an unnamed individual with a racially charged and hostile agenda performed some hanky-panky with that packet of "material suitable for eight and ninth graders" and slipped it to the Atlantic Beach second graders out of sheer malice.