Cumberland schools cancel event with Lafayette mascot over slavery
Posted September 7
Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County’s interim schools superintendent this week canceled a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a school environmental initiative because the program’s mascot, Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette, owned slaves.
“I think in lieu of what’s going on around the nation and the sensitivity to issues concerning the history of slavery in the country, there was concern there that it may be offensive to some members of our community,” Superintendent Tim Kinlaw said, citing recent protests and violence surrounding Confederate Civil War monuments.
Biographers say Lafayette, a Frenchman who was a major general in the Continental Army, was an abolitionist who purchased slaves with the intent of freeing them. In 1783, Fayetteville was the first of several towns in America to be named for him, and he visited with fanfare in 1825. Lafayette died in 1834, 27 years before the Civil War.
According to The Fayetteville Observer, Lafayette was to be the mascot of “Flip-Tap-Stack!” which is an effort to teach school children to empty the trash from their disposable cafeteria trays into trash cans and stack the trays for disposal.