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Alabama Parents Outraged at Black History Month Event Cancellation [Updated]

Children’s author Derrick Barnes rejects any claims he backed out of the events.

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Updated as of 2/6/2023 at 1:00 p.m. ET

An Alabama community is rallying behind renowned author Derrick Barnes after his Black History Month events were cancelled at a number of schools, per CNN. Since the school gave a wack response to why they cancelled, angered parents who looked forward to Barnes’ appearances took the initiative to show their own support for the author.


You could always make a WTF? Facebook post when situations like this happen, but instead these Alabama parents turned their energy into something positive. Barnes previously stated he’d only been told by one of the two school districts he’d be reimbursed for his travel and boarding expenses. One parent, Ashley Dorough, launched a fundraiser to cover the $9,900 Barnes was promised by the school, the report says. So far, they’ve raised $4,300.

“We are a transracial family, so when we found out Derrick Barnes was coming, we immediately cleared our schedule, asked the librarian if family can come, it was a very exciting, well-known event. It’s a rare opportunity for your child to get [at] a public school, so losing that was disappointing, hurtful, and frustrating,” Dorough told CNN.

Dorough along with other parents who were looking forward to seeing Barnes are working to put his books in the Free Little Libraries around their city so anyone can access his work amidst the ongoing push across the south to keep Black books off the shelves. However, Hoover City Superintendent Dee Fowler alleges the anti-critical race theory movement isn’t to blame for why Barnes was cancelled.

Read more from CNN:

However, Fowler, the school district superintendent, told CNN the issue is not about the content of Barnes’ books, which Fowler said are found in libraries and classrooms across the district, but posts he had made on social media.

Fowler said the events were canceled after “a parent at one of the elementary schools voiced concern regarding social media posts made by Mr. Barnes.” He did not clarify what the posts included or what made them controversial.

“I wasn’t told anything about a parental complaint. My socials are all about my books, events, children, and of course I talk about Black history facts and things happening in the world, but everything is factual,” Barnes said.


*sigh* It only took one Karen. It’s also expected that students will see a serious pushback on Black History Month activities.

Previous reporting...

The New York Times best-seller was scheduled to visit schools in the Alabaster City and Hoover City school districts this month. Barnes is known for his children’s books “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” and “The King of Kindergarten,” one of which he planned to read at the elementary schools he planned to visit. However, suddenly, his appearance was cancelled due to “contract issues,” the report says.


Alabaster City didn’t bother sending out a statement but Hoover City addressed the parents claiming they tried to request contract information from Barnes on three occasions. Barnes called bullsh*t on that excuse.

In his mind, the sudden backing out was a direct result of all the political discourse surrounding anti-racist learning.


Read more about it form CBS42 News:

His books, Barnes said, include no rationally objectionable material. They focus on telling stories of Black kids he didn’t see in books he read growing up.

“I really try to focus on writing books where Black children are doing ‘slice of life’ things,” he said. “When I first got into the industry, all the books that were written by Black authors that got awards were always about civil rights or slavery. No bedtime stories. No stories about going to school.”

Barnes said it’s important that children of all races see Black kids represented in literature.

“It’s important that white children, too, get a chance to see children that don’t look like them doing the same things they do: having a family, having people around them that love and care about them, and just doing everyday things,” Barnes explained.

It’s frustrating, he said, that anyone would be opposed to such an effort.

“But if you’re Black in this country and you’re an artist, it automatically makes you an activist,” he said. “Because I think ‘you really don’t want me to come speak to your kids? What have I done other than spread love?’”


Barnes, a self-proclaimed introvert, not only charged up his social battery for a month’s worth of children’s interactions for nothing but also missed out on money from travel and board costs.

Hoover City pledged to reimburse him but... it’s not really about the money is it? Black boys had no say in whether they felt “comfortable” with participating in the event or not. It’s a common theme that Black students are spoken for when it comes to opportunities to embrace their own history or culture. More often than not, the one speaking for them is white.