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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

School Named after Slave Descendant Finds His Biography is “Inappropriate” for Students

The district said they couldn’t share exactly what was deemed “inappropriate” but we have an idea.

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Screenshot: ABC 8 News (Fair Use)

A Carroll school district committee reviewed a seventh grade teacher’s required reading which is a book detailing the life of George Dawson, whom Dawson Middle School is named after. The district came back with a conclusion that parts of the book were “inappropriate” for the students, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. The content they’re most likely referring to is anything regarding descriptions of slavery and racism.

“Life is so Good,” co-written by Dawson, was not one of the many books banned under anti-CRT legislation. However, Carroll Superintendent Lane Ledbetter said “the content in one chapter of the book was not appropriate for this age group,” per an email to the Star-Telegram. However, this has led to a review of the book in its entirety.

Dawson, the grandson of an enslaved individual, was born in 1898 and did not learn to read until he was 98. He died in 2001 just a year after the publishing of his book.

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Read the reactions from Dawson’s relatives from WFAA:

Much of Dawson’s surviving family still lives in North Texas. His great-grandson, Chris Irvin, wasn’t aware the district was reviewing the book.

“That’s hurtful,” he said. “You take away the bad and the ugly and you only talk about the good, that doesn’t add up.”

Irvin, who studied African American history in college, was also confused because he says he and his family have visited the school at least five separate times for a full cover-to-cover reading of the biography.

“Black history is American history. You can’t have one without the other,” he said. “I can’t go to your history and tell you, ‘hey x that out of your life, that didn’t happen.’”

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Though the district didn’t specify what part of the book was deemed problematic, Irvin also told WFAA he had an idea. In the novel, it explains that Dawson’s best friend was falsely accused of raping a white woman. He and his father watched the man’s lynching.

However, the district’s previous behavior shows this issue is beyond students being required to read a description of a lynching. Last year, a district administrator was caught on tape reprimanding teachers for not offering books with “opposing views” to topics like the Holocaust or racism. What is there to oppose about both topics being horrible?

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The politicization of education has made it so teachers and parents believe students are learning a biased side of history. The sad joke is that they already have been - for years. Now, the truth is being posed as a threat.