Imagine living in a community with a 93 percent African-American population. Now imagine that all the black educational films, books and videos housed in a local high school library were just tossed in a Dumpster. If you live in Detroit’s Highland Park, this nightmare is a reality.
According to the Atlantic Wire, Detroit’s Emergency Manager Donald Weatherspoon said that the materials were “thrown out by mistake” and that the district could not afford to keep them. Furious residents took to the streets with signs that read, “Dump the EM, Not the Books.” Protesters also called Weatherspoon a “modern-day Hitler” burning books.
“The emergency manager had been in the district for over a year and then they decided to throw away all the black artifacts — books that were no longer in print or published, all kinds of tapes and catalogues,” Jackson explained to The Atlantic Wire. “We want to preserve those artifacts so our children have something to look back on. We’re just mad about it and we’re not going to stand for it, just throwing away our history like that.”
The outcry began when a small portion of the volumes in question was discovered in a dumpster three weeks ago by Paul Lee, a local historian who helped assemble the collection. According to USA Today, the collection was largely the result of civil rights-era demands to incorporate African-American studies into school curriculums — especially in communities like Highland Park, whose population is about 93% African-American. Jackson hopes to place the books in a community center, but Weatherspoon has instead expressed interest in donating those with historical value to a library or museum. (Of course, the majority of the collection has already been lost to the dumpster.)
Read more at the Atlantic Wire.