Thursday, December 09, 2004


From the Raleigh News & Observer:

Students at one of the area's largest Christian schools are reading a controversial booklet that critics say whitewashes Southern slavery with its view that slaves lived "a life of plenty, of simple pleasures." ...

Principal Larry Stephenson said the school is only exposing students to different ideas, such as how the South justified slavery. He said the booklet is used because it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery.

"You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective," he said....

The authors of the booklet are Douglas Wilson, an Idaho pastor, and Steve Wilkins. Wilkins

is a member of the board of directors of the Alabama-based League of the South. That is classified as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights group.

In response to the article, Cary Christian has issued a press release:

As you may be aware, today the News and Observer published a rather negative article about Cary Christian School and our use of a small booklet supplement entitled, "Southern Slavery, As It Was". Within the article it stated, "the booklet has received criticism from a number of historians and that it has been pulled from publication because of faulty footnotes and citation errors."

We were unaware of these findings and as a result have already pulled this booklet from our curriculum....

Yes, apparently the controversy surrounding the booklet came as a complete surprise to the folks at Cary Christian. Apparently they had to buy a newspaper to learn that historians took issue with statements such as:

* "Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence." (page 24)

* "Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care." (page 25)

* "But many Southern blacks supported the South because of long established bonds of affection and trust that had been forged over generations with their white masters and friends." (page 27)

But I hope it wasn't a mistake to remove the book from the curriculum. After all, why tinker with success?

At a time when a number of Triangle Christian schools have lost enrollment and even closed, Cary Christian has seen rapid growth since it opened in 1996....

(Story via Democratic Underground.)

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