Kids forced to pick cotton and sing slave songs during Black History Month

photo: via Fox 46 (screenshot)

Black History Month continues to be marred by questionable moments that counter Black achievement. During a school field trip, students were told to pick cotton and sing slave songs. The incident occurred with students who attend Ebenezer Avenue elementary school in Rock Hill, North Carolina, according to Fox 46 in Charlotte.

Students went on a field trip to the Carroll School, a school built in 1929 by and for Blacks. Closed in 1954, the school is now on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a teaching center for Black history.

The 5th grade students who attend Ebenezer Avenue were told to pick cotton and sing slaves songs during an activity that was supposed to be a lesson. However, the instructors and teachers never explained to the students how Blacks were forced to pick cotton during slavery and throughout the Jim Crow era. Instead, picking cotton became a game.

The students reportedly challenged each other to pick the most cotton while singing the songs with the lyrics, “I like it when you fill the sack. I like it when you don’t talk back. Make money for me.”

Students who lost the game were forced to hold a big bag called, “Big Mama.”

In a statement issued by Mychal Frost, Director of Marketing and Communications, Rock Hill Schools, the school system ignored the slavery component and claimed the instruction was to be centered around the Great Depression.

“The Carroll School field experience is a unique learning opportunity for all 5th grade students in Rock Hill Schools’ elementary schools. As one of the only remaining Rosenwald Schools in operation, the school exists to promote understanding about our past, specifically the Great Depression and schooling in America. The students are afford an opportunity to learn directly from two local men, one of whom is a former student of The Carroll School, who lead students through a variety of hands-on activities and experiences. As part of the fifth-grade curriculum, students study the Great Depression time period, and this field trip helps students make real-life connections to this era in American history,” Frost wrote in a statement.

 

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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