Alabama Schools Randomly Cancel Black History Month Event with Award-Winning Author

Derrick Barnes (L) attends the 73rd National Book Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 16, 2022 in New York City.
Derrick Barnes (L) attends the 73rd National Book Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 16, 2022 in New York City.

*sigh* It is only expected that students will see a serious pushback on Black History Month activities. Two Alabama school districts have canceled events featuring New York Times-bestselling children’s author Derrick Barnes, per CBS42 News. The reason wasn’t necessarily spelled out as anti-critical race theory however, it’s certainly a safe assumption.

Barnes was scheduled to visit schools in the Alabaster City and Hoover City school districts next month. Barnes is known for his children’s books “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” and “The King of Kindergarten,” one of which he planned to read at the elementary schools he planned to visit. However, suddenly, his appearance was cancelled due to “contract issues,” the report says.

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Alabaster City didn’t bother sending out a statement but Hoover City addressed the parents claiming they tried to request contract information from Barnes on three occasions. Barnes called bullsh*t on that excuse.

In his mind, the sudden backing out was a direct result of all the political discourse surrounding anti-racist learning.

Read more about it form CBS42 News:

His books, Barnes said, include no rationally objectionable material. They focus on telling stories of Black kids he didn’t see in books he read growing up.

“I really try to focus on writing books where Black children are doing ‘slice of life’ things,” he said. “When I first got into the industry, all the books that were written by Black authors that got awards were always about civil rights or slavery. No bedtime stories. No stories about going to school.”

Barnes said it’s important that children of all races see Black kids represented in literature.

“It’s important that white children, too, get a chance to see children that don’t look like them doing the same things they do: having a family, having people around them that love and care about them, and just doing everyday things,” Barnes explained.

It’s frustrating, he said, that anyone would be opposed to such an effort.

“But if you’re Black in this country and you’re an artist, it automatically makes you an activist,” he said. “Because I think ‘you really don’t want me to come speak to your kids? What have I done other than spread love?’”

Barnes, a self-proclaimed introvert, not only charged up his social battery for a month’s worth of children’s interactions for nothing but also missed out on money from travel and board costs.

Hoover City pledged to reimburse him but... it’s not really about the money is it? Black boys had no say in whether they felt “comfortable” with participating in the event or not. It’s a common theme that Black students are spoken for when it comes to opportunities to embrace their own history or culture. More often than not, the one speaking for them is white.

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