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Ask schools not to use "The Help" as a tool to study the Civil Rights Movement

This petition had 650 supporters


We were alarmed to read in a recent article in Slate that many high schools are assigning Kathryn Stockett's The Help as a text of choice (sometimes the only text of choice) in both English and history classes as the basis of their teaching on the Civil Rights Movement. One could hardly think of a worse choice, not because of its literary merits or lack thereof, but because of the way in which it utterly distorts the real story of the Civil Rights Movement and the thousands of people, most of them African-American, who fought and died to end American apartheid. Given the amount of extraordinary scholarship--and for English classes-diverse and less sentimental fiction--available on the Civil Rights Movement (some of which is cited in the Slate article) and the amount of intelligent critique of The Help available, it is appalling that educators and school districts would choose something so historically inaccurate to teach history and critical thinking about race and rights. As educators, invested in accuracy and the growth of young minds, please use your position as leading organizations in secondary schools to do what you can to stop the use of this book in this way and to fight for an accurate teaching of a crucial part of American history. Ignorance is not bliss--it's dangerous. 



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