A Black North Carolina educator says he sees no problem with telling a group of African-American children to play the role of slaves during a field trip with their White classmates earlier this month.
Historian Ian Campbell said that he wanted the children at Rea View Elementary School to walk away from the trip to Latta Plantation in Huntersville, N.C., with a hands-on lesson about the Civil War.
“I am very enthusiastic about getting kids to think about how people did things in 1860, 1861 – even before that period," he told WSOC-TV. "I was trying to be historically correct not politically correct."
But parents and officials with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch of the NAACP believe that Campbell made a major mistake in trying to make the experience as real as possible. There’s no justification, they say, for telling Black children to put a cotton-collecting bag around their necks and having them demonstrate what it felt like to pick cotton.
"There is a lingering pain, a lingering bitterness, a lingering insecurity and a lingering sense of inhumanity since slavery,” said Chapter President Kojp Nantambu. “Because that's still there, you want to be more sensitive than politically correct or historically correct."