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Target pulls Black History Month book that misidentified 3 civil rights icons

A lone shopper heads into a Target store on Jan. 11 in Lakewood, Colo.
David Zalubowski
A lone shopper heads into a Target store on Jan. 11 in Lakewood, Colo.

Target says it has pulled a book from its Black History Month collection after a customer noticed it mislabeled three prominent Civil Rights icons.

In a video posted to TikTok, high school U.S. history teacher Issa Tete says she bought the "Civil Rights Magnetic Learning Kit" to share with her students in honor of the holiday.

However, when opening the kit, she discovered several discrepancies: the product incorrectly labels three civil rights icons — American sociologist and historian W.E.B. Du Bois; author and educator Booker T. Washington; and historian and journalist Carter G. Woodson.

Du Bois' image was labeled as Woodson, Woodson was labeled as Washington and Washington was labeled as Du Bois.

"I get it, mistakes happen," Tete said in the now-viral video. "But this needs to be corrected ASAP ... I don't know who's in charge of Target, but these need to be pulled off the shelves, like, immediately."

Since it was posted to social media on Tuesday, the video has been viewed over 850,000 times.

"I was not going to let that slide for my 200 students and I was not going to let that slide for my two babies who I am responsible (for) teaching," she said in a follow-up video posted Thursday.

Bendon Publishing, the book's publisher, did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.

In a statement to NPR, Target said the company will no longer sell the product in its stores or online, and that it notified Bendon of the errors.

February marks Black History Month, a tradition that got its start in the Jim Crow era and was officially recognized in 1976 as part of the nation's bicentennial celebrations.

Dating back to 1926, Woodson, the scholar often referred to as the "father of Black history," established Negro History Week to focus attention on Black contributions to civilization.

The month-long commemoration aims to honor the contributions that African Americans have made and to recognize their sacrifices.

Black History Month is celebrated in the United States and Canada every February, while celebrated in October in the United Kingdom.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.