The controversial release of a children’s book depicting slaves happy to be baking cakes for President George Washingon has been pulled by the Scholastic company. The book, A Birthday Cake For George Washington, was met with waves of criticism since its release and the efforts to get the book removed from publication were fruitful.
The New York Daily News reports:
Kids book publisher Scholastic belatedly admitted that its children’s story about George Washington’s happy slaves gives “a false impression of…reality.”
The statement came as the publishing giant pulled the book, “A Birthday Cake for George Washington,” after days of criticism.
“The book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn,” the publisher said late Sunday.
“Scholastic has a long history of explaining complex and controversial issues,” the publisher wrote. “[But] we do not believe this title meets the standards of appropriate presentation … despite the positive intentions and beliefs of the author, editor, and illustrator.”
The book was released on Jan. 5 but last week chatter surrounding the happy disposition of the slaves working in President Washington’s kitchen rubbed many the wrong way. New York Times food writer Ramin Ganeshram and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s book made real-life slave Hercules and his daughter the centerpiece of their book.
Some historians stated that the book ignored a key fact that Washington was especially harsh on his slaves and that Hercules actually escaped from the Mount Vernon plantation, which would suggest he was anything but happy to bake cakes and the like.
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