Saturday 18 August 2018

School criticised for US Civil War costume request after boy, 10, called a slave

President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, given slaves their freedom (AP)
President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, given slaves their freedom (AP)

An exchange between two children has further highlighted tensions regarding the US Civil War and its flags and symbols.

The school, near Kennesaw Mountain in the US state of Georgia, last month invited children aged 10 and 11 to dress up as characters from the Civil War.

A white pupil, dressed as a plantation owner, said to a 10-year-old black classmate, "You are my slave", the black child's parent, Corrie Davis, said.

The school is not far from a mountaintop where Confederate soldiers fired their cannons at Union troops in the 19th century.

"What I want them to understand is the pain it caused my son," Ms Davis said of her child, who did not dress up that day.

"This is bringing them back to a time when people were murdered, when people died, when people owned people."

Ms Davis recorded an emotional video in which she explains how she was affected by what happened to her son.

It has attracted about 70,000 views on Facebook.

The distraught mother said she met school officials, but was dismayed when they refused to promise that they would never conduct a class in that way again.

The issue could come to a head in a couple of weeks, when Ms Davis plans to bring it up at a school board meeting.

"No student was required to dress in period attire and any student that did so was not instructed, nor required, to dress in any specific attire," school system spokesman John Stafford said.

Cobb County school officials have not said whether the annual Civil War Day will continue next year at Big Shanty Intermediate School.

Tensions have been rising in the US over monuments and flags linked to the pro-slavery Confederacy which tried to secede from the Union but eventually lost the Civil War.


Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News