Curriculum

Textbook that says some slaves treated like family is pulled

A social studies textbook that says some slaves in Connecticut were cared for like family members is being pulled from fourth-grade classrooms in Norwalk.

Norwalk public school officials said they began reviewing the book, "The Connecticut Adventure," after a parent raised concerns last month about its depiction of slavery.

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The district's chief academic officer, Michael Conner, said in a letter to parents that the textbook minimizes the impact and implications of slavery, Hearst Connecticut Media reported.

The book by John W. Ifkovic was published in 2001 by Gibbs Smith Publishing. In a chapter on slavery in Connecticut, the book says, "Compared to other colonies, Connecticut did not have many slaves. Some people owned one or two slaves. They often cared for and protected them like members of the family. They taught them to be Christian, and sometimes to read and write."

Schools officials said hundreds of the books will be removed in January.

A district spokeswoman, Brenda Wilcox Williams, said the 250-page book has been in use for several years at 10 of the 12 Norwalk elementary schools. Concerns about the book were brought to district officials Nov. 29, and within a week they announced the decision to stop using the book.

"When it was brought to our attention it was pretty clear it wasn't consistent with our core beliefs and values," Williams said. "We felt it was important to respond quickly as a result of that."