Protests Sparked in Detroit Over the Dumping of Black History Books
Jul 9, 2013- theatlanticwire.com
This is one result of "Race to the Top/Common Core State Standards/Hi
Stakes Testing" Policies: Furthering the Eurocentric Curriculum of
Exclusion and Erasing Black History and Culture for All of children.
Published on Jul 13, 2013-- Highland Park School Leaders Destroy
Valuable Books & History!
A No Struggle, No Development
Production! By Kenny Snodgrass, Activist, Photographer,
A Detroit area school district has erupted in protest over the discarding
of a historic book collection that is said to contain more than 10,000
black history volumes, included films, videos, and other artifacts. The
blame, according to residents of Highland Park, a small city surrounded
on nearly all sides by Detroit, belongs to Emergency Manager Donald
Weatherspoon, who claims the collection was thrown out by mistake but
that the district cannot afford to preserve it. Yesterday, angry
residents held a public protest, blocking traffic, wielding megaphones,
and displaying picket signs with slogans like "21st Century Hitler
Burning Books" and "Dump The EM, Not The Books"—referring to the
state-appointed emergency manager.
Among the picketers was Deblon Jackson, a Detroit-area musician.
emergency manager had been in the district for over a year and then
they decided to throw away all the black artifacts—books that were no
longer in print or published, all kinds of tapes and catalogues,"
Jackson explained to The Atlantic Wire. "We want to preserve those
artifacts so our children have something to look back on. We're just mad
about it and we're not going to stand for it, just throwing away our
history like that."
The outcry began when a small portion of the
volumes in question was discovered in a dumpster three weeks ago by Paul
Lee, a local historian who helped assemble the collection. According to
USA Today, the collection was largely the result of civil rights-era
demands to incorporate African-American studies into school
curriculums—especially in communities like Highland Park, whose
population is about 93% African-American. Jackson hopes to place the
books in a community center, but Weatherspoon has instead expressed
interest in donating those with historical value to a library or museum.
(Of course, the majority of the collection has already been lost to the
Marcia Cotton, a member of the Highland Park
Renaissance Academy Board of Directors and lifelong resident, said she
attended a meeting in which Weatherspoon took responsibility and claimed
the books were discarded by mistake. Her fellow board member, Vice
President Andre Davis, soon resigned over the controversy. But Cotton
isn't so sure the books are the most pressing issue in the community.
would very much like to get above the fray of the controversy and
rather discuss solutions to the looming debt crisis facing the school
district, the decline in school enrollment and city population, and how
best we can work with our city officials and provide a greater quality
of life for our residents and quality education in a safe environment
for our children," Cotton said in an email. "We can't solve 21st century
problems with 20th century tactics."
Jackson, meanwhile, hopes to continue protesting.
have a protest scheduled every day this week until we get what we
want," she said. "They don't want the children to read, in my opinion.
How do you have a library with no books? How do you mistakenly throw
"This is a modern-day Hitler," she added.
Watch video footage of the protest here, via WXYZ-TV Detroit: