* T is for (white) TarHeels

T is for TarHeel: A North Carolina Alphabet,” written by Carol Crane and illustrated by Gary Palmer, is an attractive book detailing famous sites, state animals/flowers, etc., and other events of note in North Carolina.  This book is one in a series of all the states (“Discover America State By State”) and fits nicely into a fourth grade curriculum.  The illustrations are beautiful watercolors and the text is in two forms, poetry with an accompanying detailed explanation of each selection’s significance.  If you visit Sleeping Bear Press, you can download a free, 23 page teacher’s guide for this book and many more.

There is much to like about the book, but is North Carolina an all-white state?  Has it always been a one race place?  In this book, a single picture features a black girl with a caterpillar and there are ZERO references to any black contributions to our state’s history and culture.  (The same is true for native peoples.)  What about H or J for Harriet Jacobs?  She wrote one of the first narratives about slavery, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.”  The Harriet Jacobs Trail in Edenton allows visitors to follow the events of her life, including hiding for seven years in a tiny attic after escaping her brutal owner.

Or what about I for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, formerly Woolworth’s, the site of the sit-in by four courageous young men who defied the “whites only” rule, moving our nation away from laws of segregation?

There are others, but what about N or S for Nina SImone?  She was a powerful voice in jazz and the civil rights movement.  Enjoy her music in this video.  Her lyrics are a powerful indictment of racism and sex-trade trafficking.

Finally, let’s hope the book is edited to include ALL our citizens.