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‘Happy’ Enslaved Africans Infuriates Twitter as Backlash Grows over New Children’s Book, Parents Launch Petition to End Falsehoods

a birthday cake for george washingtonAtlanta Blackstar reported last night about a children’s book that depicts the conditions of enslaved Black people as happy and satisfied with their own enslavement. A Birthday Cake for George Washington, written by Ramin Ganeshram and illustrated Vanessa Brantly-Newton, focuses on an enslaved chef named Hercules who loves cooking for President George Washington. The story takes a turn for the worse when Hercules and his daughter Delia run out of sugar.

The book makes the institution of slavery look like a 200-year-long vacation where Black folks are enjoying being deprived of basic human rights. The truth isn’t as colorful as the book would indicate. Washington was a notorious slave owner who reportedly owned 200 enslaved Black people at the Mt. Vernon plantation.

“When he was 11 years old, Washington inherited 10 slaves from his father’s estate. He continued to acquire slaves — some through the death of family members and others through direct purchase,” according to The New York Times. “Washington’s cache of enslaved people peaked in 1759 when he married the wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis.”

The country’s first president was a member of the planter class, as were other founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson. As president, Washington was a firm supporter of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which allowed slave owners to retake runaway enslaved people — even if they escaped to free territories. Mt. Vernon was the scene of horrific violence toward Black people and prompted many to escape.

Parents have created a Change.org petition to get rid of the book and remove it from Amazon. The author has received backlash for writing such a book. Twitter users realized the dangers of a book like this.

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Comments

  1. ..

  2. All this talk about apologies are shallow and insulting to me. Talk of apologies just sets the stage for white people to insert there favorite diversion. They ( where people ) say what do you want from us? Do you want us to feel guilty? Then the whole conversation shifts from its original intention ( systemic racism and its origins ) to talking about white guilt. No one wants white guilt because it allows white people to control the subject by refocusing the topic so it's all about them. Newyork Times best selling authore TA – NEHISI-Coates book " Between the world and me " written as a letter to his fourteen year old son, describes salvery this way on page 103 last 2 paragraphs . In America it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage. Enslavement was not merely the antiseptic borrowing of labor- it is not easy to get a human being to commit their body against its own elemental interest. And so enslvement must be casual wrath and random manglings, the gashing of heads and brains blown out over the river as the body seeks to escape. It must be rape so regular as to be industrial.There is no uplifting way to say this. I have no praise anthems, nor old Negro spirituals.

  3. Imagine a children's book about happy Jews in concentration camps. That book would haver have been published

  4. Stop the insanity! It's like we are going backwards instead of forwards! Slavery Is such an important part of our history! We need not forget the horrible things our forefathers did and people in power continue to do today! We are all brothers and sisters and are equals and need to be treated as so!

  5. A story about the Trail of Tears could be called "We Cry Because We're Happy."

  6. Cognitive dissonance strikes again

  7. #freespeechmatters

  8. This is why my future child's learning enviroment will be controlled and private. Cuz this is the BS they're trying to promote in public education. You know white teachers all over America bought this book to go teach to children. They love sugar coating the truth. I hope that author's career is ruined.

Trackbacks

  1. […] ‘Happy’ Enslaved Africans Infuriates Twitter as Backlash Grows over New Children’s Boo… […]

  2. […] you can imagine, there’s been substantial backlash to the book, given its incomplete and sanitized depiction of enslaved people (Change.org has a […]

  3. […] it amassed a huge conversation regarding the faults within this book. The Inquisitir, The Root, The Atlanta Black Star and Yahoo News were among those to cover the developing story and to carry it beyond the […]

  4. supplemental resources

    ‘Happy’ Enslaved Africans Infuriates Twitter as Backlash Grows over New Children’s Book, Parents Launch Petition to End Falsehoods – Atlanta Blackstar

  5. […] the events were based on historic events, critics lambasted the book’s contents. Hercules was not in fact a “happy or joyful” enslaved person, he actually escaped to freedom on February 22, 1797 – Washington’s 65th birthday – which the […]

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