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Outrage as kids pick cotton, sing slave songs during school field trip (VIDEO)

Outrage as kids pick cotton, sing slave songs during school field trip (VIDEO)
Disturbing cell phone video has appeared online apparently showing a class of 10-year-old South Carolina elementary school kids picking cotton and singing slave songs as their teachers supervise.

The cell phone video was reportedly taken by one of the teachers and sent to parents of fifth graders from Ebenezer Avenue Elementary in Rock Hill, South Carolina this week. “I like it when you don’t talk back, make money for me,” the children can be heard singing in the videos.

“I’m livid right now,” parent Jessica Blanchard told Fox 46 after the video emerged. “I’m African-American and my ancestors picked cotton. Why would I want my son to pick cotton and think it’s fun?”

According to Blanchard and other parents, there was apparently no mention of picking cotton on the permission slip for the field trip.

The children were visiting the Carroll School, built in 1929 by African-Americans, as part of a class during Black History Month. The Carroll School was initially closed in 1954, and later restored by Rock Hill Schools in 2004. It now serves as a teaching center for African-American history, centering on the Great Depression, not slavery.

Wali Cathcart, 81, an instructor and former student at the school, defended their practice of having children pick cotton.

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“We need innovation in the education system,” he said. “Not just lecturing children in a classroom telling them something. There’s nothing better than hands on.”

“This program here is centered around the Great Depression of the 1930s, so slavery is not the predominant issue.”

The school has subsequently apologized, but consternation and outrage persist online, including a statement from State Representative John King in which he stated, “Something has gone terrible wrong when slavery is treated as a ‘game.’”

A short 2017 documentary produced by Rock Hill Schools itself also shows children singing the same songs while picking cotton.

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