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Speaker Sparks Outrage After Dressing In Blackface To Teach Lesson African Missionary Work

CARMICHAEL (CBS13) —The community is outraged after pictures surfaced showing a woman teaching children in blackface, dressed up as a central African native.

"[It's] very ignorant. Especially in the racial tension that we have across America, just not really understanding what that blackface means," said local activist Berry Accius. "Why would anybody in this moment thinking that dressing up in a black face is right?"

It happened at Victory Christian Elementary last Thursday when the elementary chapel speaker dressed up as a central African native woman in order to tell the life story of missionary David Livingstone and his work in Africa in the late 1800s. It was supposed to be a bible lesson.

In doing so, she painted her arms and face dark brown to depict the character.

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"If I was a parent and saw that, I would be frustrated, I would be furious," Accius said.

Accius says blackface is inherently racist and people in our community should know better.

"Black faces were basically used to taunt African-Americans and show us in such a way like we are tar faced, and it never depicted us in a positive light," Accius said.

The superintendent John Huffman sent out a letter to parents apologizing saying the speaker had no malicious intentions and in a statement to CBS13 said:

"I was wrong to allow the use of makeup, no matter how innocent the intentions, as it has offended some of my students and parents."

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Accius says it's alarming that it's still happening.

"Just continues to show the ignorance has that has been plaguing our great city of Sacramento as well as the lack thereof education of racial competency in our schools," he said.

The superintendent said there will be opportunities scheduled for staff as well as teachers to learn from this together.

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