Students react to controversial Black History Month display at h - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Students react to controversial Black History Month display at high school

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
COLCHESTER, CT (WFSB) -

A controversial display for Black History Month that includes Ku Klux Klan items is generating a reaction from students.

The display at Bacon Academy in Colchester includes a real KKK robe, shackles and violent images from the civil rights movement.

It was enough to make some students uncomfortable.

"I think it’s far better versus listening to a recording of a Martin Luther King speech," said Lauren Hickey, a student. "He has a picture of Martin Luther King. It was an original."

"It definitely had to be the shackles," said Peter Kazibwe, a student. "He went way into depth about this certain instrument that was used for children and all the slave workers on the field and it actually went around your ankles and there were bells in it.”

Kazibwe said he was blown away by the historic artifacts shared by Jeffrey Fletcher as part of the presentation.

Fletcher said the collection came from his mother who collected the items during her lifetime in South Carolina.

"This is not about race baiting, it’s not about opening old wounds," he said. "It’s about everybody's history.”

School officials said they've received a couple of complaints. One was from a parent and the other was from an outsider. The district pointed out, however, that neither had actually seen the display.

The school's principal posted to Twitter on Monday, which infuriated one parent enough to write to Eyewitness News. She did not want her name revealed for fear of retribution against her child.

“The superintendent and principal of Bacon Academy in Colchester think this is the way to celebrate Black History month," the letter read. "They [were] so proud that they put this on Twitter. I, as a parent of a biracial child at this school, was disgusted.”

"I think that they just didn't understand what we were doing," said Jeff Matthieu, superintendent.

Kazibwe had a different thought.

“I think that they just need to come here for themselves and take a look at it," he said. "It’s all positive if you listen to what he has to say and actually listen to his story how his mother collected it, it’s all just genuinely good work he put into this.”

The president of Connecticut's NAACP said he saw Fletcher's display.

“It is exactly what black people had to deal with in America," said Scot X Esdaile, president, NAACP Connecticut branches. "I think it’s very important that the history is properly documented and displayed and that young people understand what black people had to go through.”

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    In honor of the time, Bacon Academy in Colchester brought in an exhibit and guest lecturer to talk about his collection of artifacts, and their place in Black and American history.  (Matthew Peel, Principal at Bacon Academy)In honor of the time, Bacon Academy in Colchester brought in an exhibit and guest lecturer to talk about his collection of artifacts, and their place in Black and American history. (Matthew Peel, Principal at Bacon Academy)

    February is known in our country as Black History Month. In honor of the time, Bacon Academy in Colchester brought in an exhibit and guest lecturer to talk about his collection of artifacts, and their place in Black and American history.

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    February is known in our country as Black History Month. In honor of the time, Bacon Academy in Colchester brought in an exhibit and guest lecturer to talk about his collection of artifacts, and their place in Black and American history.

    More >