Teaching Facility Retracts Documents Claiming ‘Slaves Were Generally Treated Kindly’
A Utah teaching facility has retracted learning documents claiming ‘most slaves were generally treated kindly.’
Northridge Learning Centre, considered to be a popular source of online classes and resources for students making up credits in high school, recently came under fire for packets with alarming claims about slavery during the Civil War.
Not only did they allege slaves were treated kindly, but also that they had ‘reasonable living conditions and hours of service’ and how ‘many slaves worked so closely with their masters that they were treated as family.’
The centre has since pulled the packets from distribution, although it was unable to confirm how long they’d been in circulation, other than for a ‘while.’
‘It is difficult to address a subject such as slavery, especially through an independent study packet versus classroom discussion. But we see how this section can be improved,’ CEO Alison D. Bond told The Salt Lake Tribune.
The documents’ claims have already inflicted damage in the local community. While briefly noting that ‘many cruel acts did take place’, the packets also claim ‘slaves were considered property so it was not in the best interest of a slaveholder to treat a slave poorly’, as well as including photos of those beaten and whipped.
‘The fact of the matter is that Africans were brought to this country in shackles and chains and forced to do manual labour. They were born into slavery and died in slavery. I am just beyond words that anyone would call that ‘kind’,’ Emma Houston, special assistant to the vice president of equity, diversity and inclusion at the University of Utah, said.
‘This sounds like 1902 that they wrote this. Individuals who were enslaved were not treated with kindness. That’s a fact. They were stripped of their names and cultures and everything. It’s an issue of reporting history – not the history that we want it to be, but the actual history of how individuals were treated,’ she added.
Adrienne Andrews, chief diversity officer at Weber State University, said the packets were ‘obscene… and it negates the facts and real lived experiences of people who were brutalised. That’s not okay. Knowing the truth does not mean we have to stay in that history. It means we can learn from that history and commit ourselves to not doing that again.’
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