In honor of Black History Month, I must register my reaction to the featured visual which was posted on Facebook as one offered to white children as a staple of the “1961 school curriculum in the South”.
Let me start with the first thing that comes to mind – a song that goes like this:…”10 little Nigger boys…going out to dine….one overfed himself, and then there were nine”….This song somehow made its way to the school yard of elementary schools in WEST AFRICA (and… possibly to the classrooms).
How do I know about this?
I was there! Even if I admit that time has served to blur my recollection as to whether the song I refer to was officially introduced to us in the classroom. I ask your pardon for what might appear to be selective memory on my part to some.
If we are to learn anything from this song and the mindset which accompanied it in the 50’s and 60’s, it is the fact that it substantiates the call for parents, guardians and community members to pour that which is good, empowering, kind and loving into the lives of children around them. Trust me, neither children nor infants are ever too young to receive a message – any message – which invariably has the potential to establish a generational legacy!
My call is for everyone worth their salt to take the high road, and join others who are still laboring to make this world a place we can all be proud of.
*I understand that the song I allude to, and accompanying books, were written to teach white children how to count in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. If this was the case, it is a no-brainier that all so-called little nigger boys at that time were on the receiving end of the devaluation of soul, spirit and self-image. Unwittingly, the unsuspecting and innocent white children internalized this venom and effortlessly perpetrated the resulting racist devaluation of black children and people.
There are other verses to the song that should choke even those who established the first amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech!