Blumenthal Participated in ‘Slave Day’ as School Student Council Leader
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) participated in “Slave Day” while he served as his high school’s student council president, Fox News reported.
Blumenthal attended Riverdale Country School in the Bronx’s Riverdale neighborhood. During his time at Riverdale Country School, Blumenthal served as the school’s student council president.
Under Blumenthal’s tenure as student council leader, the group held its first “Slave Day” on November 21, 1962, according to the school’s yearbook. “Slave Day” was an attempt to unify the school through fundraising, where students worked “odd jobs around the neighborhood.”
According to the yearbook’s description of “Slave Day,” a “large number of Upper School students worked at odd jobs around the neighborhood and helped to raise over two hundred dollars for the drive.”
As Fox News reported:
The yearbook also noted that the “Slave Day” fundraiser “exemplified the kind of activity which the Council felt most important to the school, the leadership and the participation being completely under the incentive of the students.”
As student council president, Blumenthal presumably helped organize the fundraising event known as “Slave Day.”
Leora Levy, Sen. Blumenthal’s Republican opponent, condemned Blumenthal for participating in “Slave Day.”
As a Jewish, Hispanic woman growing up in the Jim Crow South, I both witnessed and experienced racism firsthand. I remained in the public schools during integration, even as my friends and siblings left for private schools, because I believed segregation was wrong. I wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem. I have always fought for freedom and opportunity for all Americans.
Levy noted that Blumenthal’s “Slave Day” occurred around the same time Americans were fighting for civil rights and equal treatment under the law.
“In the 1960s, Americans were fighting to integrate and unify our nation, while Blumenthal celebrated ‘Slave Day?’ Disgraceful,” Levy added. “I stand with all Americans who have suffered at the hands of bigotry and will always condemn those who fuel hateful sentiments in America.”
However, Blumenthal’s racial controversies did not end at high school. Blumenthal reportedly used a racial slur in a 1966 article titled Summer School Project Set for Negro Students that he wrote while attending Harvard University.
Blumenthal, who served as editor-in-chief of The Harvard Crimson, wrote:
Twenty Negroes from Southern colleges will study here this summer under a new program organized jointly by Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. The purpose of the program, Dean Ford said last week, is to provide Negroes with the preparation they need to go on to graduate school, and to help them overcome problems of graduate school admission.
The controversy stemmed from Blumenthal’s use of the word “negro,” which is now considered a racial slur by many scholars.
As Fox News explained:
In the 1960s, there was a debate over whether the word Blumenthal used was a racist term. According to Ferris State University, the word became “totally uncouth by the mid-1980s.”
Although Blumenthal has represented Connecticut in the Senate since 2011, he faces a tough challenge from Levy.
Levy is nearly tied with Blumenthal, according to the latest Connecticut Examiner poll released just weeks away from the midterm elections.
The Trump-endorsed Republican has the support of 44 percent of Connecticut voters, while Blumenthal has 49 percent support. However, an additional seven percent of voters remain undecided, which could tip the scale in favor of Levy.