Justin Ward, WDBJ7, April 25, 2013
A city councilwoman says a quilt made by a group of students should not be allowed to hang in the Martinsville City administration building.
She says the quilt is offensive to African Americans.
But the students who made it say it showcases what they learned working on a special project.
It was supposed to be a nice gesture from students at the Piedmont Governor’s School in Martinsville.
Each student made a quilt square.
But one representing their journey learning about the area with a black stick figure offended councilwoman Sharon Brooks-Hodge.
Here’s what happened:
“We got to walk across the Philpott Dam and the small black person represents us before we learned all the information and then the bigger gold person is how he feels after he’s been enriched with all the different knowledge,” a student said as she showed the quilt to council members.
The student started explaining another quilt square when Councilwoman Hodge had a comment.
“Excuse me. Um, why is the small black person the negative image?” Hodge said.
“It’s not negative. It’s just showing how much we increased,” was the student’s response, to which Hodge replied: “I take offense to that.”
“I didn’t mean to make it offensive,” another student said.
“Whoever reviewed that to make a small black person the before and the gold which you are afterwards, considering you only talked to 10 percent of black people in a city that’s 45 percent African-American, I take offense to that and I hope that you do not display that,” Hodge said.
One student started crying and a teacher explained the black figure had nothing to do with race.
The students still gave the quilt to the city.
We’re told it will stay in an office until city council makes a decision whether or not to hang it up.
If it does get approved, it will have a disclaimer describing the quilt square.
[Editor’s Note: Video footage of the quilt presentation is available at the original article link below.]