There was a surprise in store for elementary students at Victory Christian School in Carmichael, California, during a school presentation. The students were about to learn about missionary work in Africa and the speaker dressed in traditional African garb. But when she took the stage, she caused outrage from students and later parents because she gave her lecture in blackface.
It was a shock to all who attended the lecture that day at the private academy in Northern California. According to the school Superintendent John Huffman, the lecturer was there to give a presentation on the works of a White British missionary and explorer David Livingstone, who died in 1873 doing work in Africa. He told FOX40 News that the guest speaker wanted to make her role realistic and felt that darkening her skin to resemble an African woman would bring “authenticity to her role.”
Word of the event spread to parents and they were furious, which prompted Huffman to send an apology out the next day. Huffman admitted to making a poor decision and issued a statement that reads in part that the speaker “in an effort to bring authenticity to her role, she wore a typical native dress and headdress. She also used makeup to darken her skin tone on her arms, shoulders and face. This presentation was in no way meant to be hurtful or disrespectful. … I ask forgiveness from those who have been hurt by this.”
Huffman also issued a statement to FOX40 News which broke the story that reads in part “I was wrong to allow the use of makeup no matter how innocent the intentions as it has offended some of my students and parents. I should have anticipated that this could be offensive, and I apologized to my students and parents asking to be forgiven for hurting them.”
The school plans to continue discussions with the community to promote better dialogue on race relations.