Artist: Carolivia Herron
Date of Action: December 1998
Region: North America
Location: Public School 75, Bushwick, Brooklyn
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Confronting Bodies: Parents
Description of Artwork: A children's book in which the heroine celebrates the hair that makes her special, in call-and-response format.
The Incident: A well-intentioned third-grade teacher, Ruth Sherman, gave her students a critically praised book about a black girl with kinky hair. (Ms. Sherman was white; her students were mostly black and hispanic.) The school investigated the teacher, who parents accused of being "racially insensitive." She was removed from the classroom out of fear for her safety.
Results of Incident: A Board of Education spokesman, J. D. LaRock, said the P.S. 75 principal "would talk to the parents and tell them that they behaved inappropriately and that they have to behave appropriately when they're in a school. Ms. Sherman was invited to return, but didn't out of fear for her safety.
N.Y. Teacher Runs Into a Racial Divide: Carolivia Herron, author of "Nappy Hair," says Ruth Sherman's students are exactly for whom she intended her book. (AP) By Liz Leyden, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, December 3, 1998