Nappy Hair

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Artist: Carolivia Herron

Year: 1998

Date of Action: December 1998

Region: North America

Location: Public School 75, Bushwick, Brooklyn

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature

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

'Nappy Hair' Still Touchy Class Subject: Two N.Y. schools won't let author come to explain book that led to uproar and teacher's reassignment. March 25, 1999|LISA MEYER