A school in northern California apologized this week for a Black History Month lunch menu that offended students and parents.
Administrators at Carondelet High School for Girls, a private Christian school in Concord, Calif., had announced earlier this week that they wanted to celebrate Black History Month during lunch this February by serving the students fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon, a local NBC affiliate reports. But parents and students quickly expressed outrage at the stereotypical choice. Principal Nancy Libby issued an apology letter to parents and held an assembly for students on Wednesday, NBC Bay Area reports. “I’d like to apologize for the announcement and any hurt this caused students, parents or community members,” Libby said in the letter. “Please know that at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetrate racial stereotypes.”
Throughout the early 20th Century, watermelon was often used in minstrel shows that caricatured black people. Fried chicken, a Southern staple, has also been stereotypically linked to African Americans. In the 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which depicted the founding of the Ku Klux Klan, the black characters in the film ravenously eat fried chicken.