LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A controversial school assignment has sparked outrage in the Lamar County community.
A screenshot showing an assignment titled “Slave Letter Writing Activity” has been shared hundreds of times, garnering reactions ranging from concern to anger.
Lamar County School District Superintendent Dr. Steven Hampton confirmed to WDAM the activity was assigned to eighth grade students during a Mississippi history class at Purvis Middle School on Wednesday.
The assignment asks students to “Pretend like you are a slave working on a Mississippi plantation” and “Write a letter to your family back in Africa or in another American state describing your life.”
Hampton said the assignment shown in the screenshot was the last slide in a 12-slide PowerPoint presentation about the “atrocities and negatives of slavery.”
Hampton said the purpose of the assignment “was to show our students just how horrible slavery was and to gain empathy for what it was like to be a slave.”
“We do not discriminate against race. We want to be sensitive to what happened in the past,” Hampton said.
According to Hampton, Purvis Middle School administrators have already addressed the teacher and there will be further discussion with the teacher from administrators at the district level.