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Remove 'The Cay' from School Curriculum

This petition had 23 supporters

Help us remove "The Cay" from the Saugus Union School District reading list as it references black people as 'ugly and stupid' among many other derogatory excerpts. We've had multiple meetings with the school board; however, it seems the urgency/importance of this situation has gone unnoticed. Therefore, action is needed to inspire CHANGE. There are many other literary works that would better accomplish the goal of promoting unity, acceptance, diversity, and love for our fellow humans without the use of derogatory statements, hurtful words, and blatant racist remarks strewn across every few pages.

Please join us in signing this petition to remove "The Cay" from the Saugus Union School District curriculum/reading list.

Here are a few excerpts from the book...

pg. 30 - I saw a huge, very old Negro sitting on the raft near me. He was ugly. His nose was flat and his face was broad; his head was a mass of wiry gray hair.

pg. 31 - His face couldn't have been blacker, or his teeth whiter.

pg. 32 - That lonely sea, and the sharp pains in my head, and the knowledge that I was here alone with a black man instead of my mother made me break into tears.

pg. 32 - I felt seasick and crawled to the side to vomit. He came up beside me, holding my head in his great clamshell hands. It didn't matter, at that moment, that he was black and ugly.

pg. 34 - My father had always taught me to address anyone I took to be an adult as "mister," but Timothy didn't seem to be a mister. Besides, he was black.

pg. 36 - She'd say, when she knew where we'd been, "They are not the same as you, Phillip. They are different and they live differently. That's the way it must be.

pg. 40 - I said, "Your parents were African, Timothy?" He laughed, low and soft, "Young bahss, you want me to say I true come from Afre-ca?" "You say what you want." It was just that Timothy looked very much like the men I'd seen in jungle pictures. Flat nose and heavy lips.

pg. 41 - I was amazed that any man shouldn't know his own age. I was almost certain now that Timothy had indeed come from Africa, but I didn't tell him that.

pg. 68 - I threw the palm fibers at him, and screamed, "You ugly black man! I won't do it! You're stupid. You can't even spell..."

pg. 72 - ...that tangled gray hair, the ugly black face with the thick lips...

pg. 100 - I remember that ugly welted face. But now, in my memory, it did not seem ugly at all. It seemed only kind and strong. "Timothy, are you still black?" His laughter filled the hut.


This book, written in 1969, stirred great controversy and was cited as containing an “insidiously racist message” by the Council on Interracial Books for Children. In 2017, we stand for CHANGE. #RemoveTheCay

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