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“Be A Slave For A Day” Event Causes Stir

You might not be able to cop a pair of sneakers with shackles on them, but you can be a slave for a day.

In July, Maryland’s Hampton National Historic Site plans to give a whole new meaning to black history education, by offering visitors the opportunity to experience the perils of slavery:

The July 8 event, which park ranger and event organizer Angela Roberts-Burton said is part of the historical site’s monthly black history educational series, caused a stir on the Internet for what some believe was insensitive wording

“By no means am I trying to, or are we the Park Service, trying to assimilate the atrocities that slave African-Americans endured,” Roberts-Burton said Wednesday.

“This is just a glimpse of the hard work, being out in the heat and sun,” she said.

In the initial event description on the Hampton National Historic Site website, which was online until Tuesday, Roberts-Burton used the “Slave for a Day” heading.

The release also used exclamation points to note that it was the “first time ever at Hampton!” and participants could “carry buckets of water with a yoke on your shoulders!”

Read more at Washington Post.

What a lovely way to explore Maryland’s own Frederick Douglass’ rhetorical question, “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?”

As might be expected, there has been negative feedback. The outcry, however, is not over the presumably well-intentioned event, but the manner in which it was advertised. Exclamation points, it seems, are offensive. The title and accompanying description have since been switched.

Is the advertising the only offensive aspect of this?

Or should we think harder about the idea of re-enacting the slave experience?

Sound off below!