ESC

People Evidently Don’t Like Children’s Books about Happy Slaves

George Washington was a fan of having his slaves tortured and regularly broke the Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act. He did so by shipping slaves back to Virginia at intervals so they would never be freed in his lifetime. Inhumane cruelty and racism. What excellent fodder for children’s lit.

Author Ramin Ganeshram and Scholastic sure thought so. Ganeshram wrote this fun little romp about what a good time George Washington’s slaves had preparing a birthday cake for their beloved master. She uses the names of three people who had actually been owned by Washington, among them Hercules and his daughter Delia.

Scholastic describes the book as:

Everyone is buzzing about the president’s birthday! Especially George Washington’s servants, who scurry around the kitchen preparing to make this the best celebration ever. Oh, how George Washington loves his cake! And, oh, how he depends on Hercules, his head chef, to make it for him. Hercules, a slave, takes great pride in baking the president’s cake. But this year there is one problem — they are out of sugar.

It would literally take me 20 years to point out everything wrong with this. Romanticizing the bondage of human beings, for starters. How about the fact that in real life, Washington schemed to keep Hercules and his daughter Delia enslaved? How about the fact that Hercules was having such a joyful time that he escaped from the White House without his daughter in 1797?

Fuck you, Scholastic. Also fuck you Ramin Ganeshram. I can’t believe they tried to defend this. At least, backlash forced them to fold on backing up and distributing this hideous garbage. Unbelievable.

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