Michael D. Clark, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 29, 2007
The play is on.
Lakota school officials announced this morning that the high school production of “Ten Little Indians” will be performed.
The play was originally scheduled to be performed this weekend. The school canceled the production after Gary Hines, a Lakota parent and president of the Butler County chapter of the NAACP, protested to school officials that the original 1939 title to Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery contained a racial slur against African Americans.
In a statement released by Lakota school officials, Superintendent Mike Taylor wrote that the issue has shifted away from students and diversity to claims of censorship.
Taylor stated that:
“Two weeks ago, we learned there was history around a previous title to the play “Ten Little Indians”.
“Learning this history caused a negative impact on some members of our community, our staff, and our students. The original decision to cancel the play was made out of respect for these valuable members of our schools and community.
“We believed that performing the play could damage these important relationships.
“Unfortunately the community dialogue in recent days has become focused more on distracting issues like censorship and the NAACP’s role in our community. This has taken away from the direction we hoped for and our students have been caught in the middle.”
The book was originally called “Ten Little N—-—-—- -” The original book cover in England included an illustration of a black figure and a hangman’s noose.
Taylor said in his statement: “Right now, we need to refocus on our students and return to our original goal. We need to move forward. I believe the best way forward is to allow the performance of the play to occur while using it as a learning vehicle.
Taylor also said that since 2004, the Christie family has released the play for performance only under the title, “And Then There Were None.”
[Editor’s Note: Read more about this here.]