DALLAS — Ursuline Academy of Dallas issued an apology Friday after images of students in blackface surfaced on social media from a 1979 event at the school called "Senior Slave Day."
The images, posted in the school's 1979 yearbook called "Acres," appeared to be from an event, where students sold themselves for a day to raise money for "Senior Unity Day."
"Unquestionably we regret this awful incident in our school's history, and we sincerely apologize for the distress it has caused our students, our alumnae, and others in our Ursuline community," read a statement from the college prepatory high school for girls.
Pictures of the yearbook page posted on Snapchat and Facebook show two white students wearing dark makeup with text that reads, "The slave trade became legal one last time one Wednesday, March 14, as the senior class members sold themselves along with with thirteen brave and courageous teachers."
"Tension and excitement filled the gym as various underclassmen fought for the more desirable slaves," the text continued. "Happy homemakers and Southern belles were among the more popular slaves. The slaves were at their masters [sic] command for one entire day. The proceeds acquired benefited Senior Unity Day."
Several former students posted the images on their Facebook page and expressed concern that the school was "sweeping their history under the rug."
"Instead of hiding it, why not own up to their mistakes in the past and shed light on how the school has changed?" said Nicole Johnson, a 2016 graduate of the school, in a post on her Facebook page. "To this day I still don’t know the history of my high school when it comes to school integration."
FULL URSULINE ACADEMY OF DALLAS STATEMENT:
The following statement is in response to recent conversations on social media and questions from our constituents regarding Page 193 of the 1979 edition of Acres, the Ursuline Academy yearbook, which shows students, including two in "Blueface," and teachers at a student fundraising event entitled "Senior Slave Day":
Unquestionably we regret this awful incident in our school's history, and we sincerely apologize for the distress it has caused our students, our alumnae, and others in our Ursuline community.
Ursuline Academy is a place where we strive, each day and in every way, to be sure every single student feels she belongs. We are extraordinarily proud of our student body, more than 850 young women of many faiths, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups.
We are a family characterized by inclusion and community. These values are fundamental to our mission as an educational institution and as a center of culture and faith.
Nevertheless, there is no question that what we see as unacceptable today should have been unacceptable 40 years ago. We are truly sorry.
Gretchen Z. Kane
President Ursuline Academy of Dallas