A number of parents attended a concert and were outraged when they heard an eighth-grade choir singing about picking cotton. This incident occurred days after some students in the district posed with a Confederate flag, and took videos and pictures.
During the Springfield Middle School’s fall concert on Thursday, the choir started singing “Cotton Needs Pickin'.”
Nicole Maulsby, a parent who happens to be Cuban, recorded the performance and posted it on Facebook. Maulsby’s husband Alonzo, who is of African American descent, left the auditorium during the performance.
Maulsby believes that the song, which was about workers picking cotton joyfully, was a racist reference to the slaves who worked in the cotton fields of the South. Many who commented on Maulsby’s post agreed with her.
Matt Geha, the Springfield Schools Superintendent, stated that the song was in a book of American folk music, and that as of Friday, he hadn't received any calls about the performance. However, he admitted that he was aware of the complaints being brought up on social media.
“I know that timing can sound bad, but it's a historical component for what the choir department had to use for their curriculum,” he said.
The following line is from the song: “Cotton needs pickin' so bad, we're going'na pick all over this field.”
Speaking to The Blade, Maulsby stated that the incident was “a little bit too close,” especially since a racial slur was “being used directly across the street in the parking lot.”
Earlier in the month, a number of male students from the Christian youth organization called Young Life took videos and pictures of themselves posing with a Confederate flag during a rally. Some of the images posted on Snapchat reportedly also had racial slurs.