ATLANTA (WKRC) - Parents and a community are outraged after second graders at a charter school in Georgia held up blackface masks as part of a black history month performance, according to a report by WGCL.
While holding the masks up, the students read the poem "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The poem by Dunbar, known for his role in the Harlem Renaissance, is meant to discuss the struggles of African-Americans during the 20th century.
“We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile," the poem reads.
The school sent out a letter to parents apologizing and accepting responsibility "for the hurt, anger, frustration and disappointment caused by the poor judgment we made in having students use masks that mimic blackface".
Kindezi Old Fourth Ward, the school where this incident occurred, also provided solutions for how they would prevent a future incident such as this from happening again. The school will "provide teacher education on cultural competency," hold conversations "with students to provide historical context" and hold a conversation with the greater community.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports video of this incident has already been viewed over 830,000 times in just 18 hours after it was originally posted.