Target Pulls Magnet Kit That Misidentified Three Black Leaders

Target has pulled from its stores an educational magnet collection that misidentified three Black leaders, after a high school history teacher called attention to the errors in a TikTok video.

In the video, the teacher, Tierra Espy, said she bought the “Civil Rights Magnetic Learning Activity,” a tin case of 26 magnets and informational cards featuring illustrations of Black leaders and slogans from the civil rights movement, for Black History Month, which is celebrated in the United States in February.

“I noticed some discrepancies, like, as soon as I opened this,” she said in the video, pointing out that a magnet labeled Carter G. Woodson, a scholar of African American history, actually pictured W.E.B. DuBois, the American intellectual and civil rights leader who wrote the essay collection “The Souls of Black Folk.”

“Peep the ’stache,” she said, referring to a picture of DuBois on the internet with the same mustache as the figure in the magnet mislabeled as Woodson. “They got the name wrong.”

She also pointed to a magnet that was mislabeled as DuBois. It actually pictured Booker T. Washington, the reformist educator who led the founding of the college that became Tuskegee University. Similarly, a magnet labeled Washington actually depicted Woodson, she said.

Ms. Espy said the accompanying cards also misidentified Woodson, DuBois and Washington.

“I get it, mistakes happen, but this needs to be corrected ASAP,” Ms. Espy said in the video.

In an interview on Saturday, Ms. Espy, 26, who teaches 11th-grade U.S. history at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, said she bought the tin of magnets for her children, ages 4 and 6, as an educational tool for Black History Month.

Ms. Espy said she was alarmed to discover the mistakes.

“I was upset because I was like, how does this get to so many people, so many levels, and put into stores, and I caught it in 10 seconds?” she said. “Whoa, this is not OK.”

Bendon Publishing, which produces books of stickers, dress-up dolls and other magnet kits, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but on Saturday, the magnet kit was not listed among its titles on the company’s website and Amazon page.

Target said in a statement that it would no longer sell the kit online or in its stores, and that it had “ensured the product’s publisher is aware of the errors.”

Black scholars initiated a project to share and celebrate Black history in the early 20th century after Reconstruction.

Black History Month began as Negro History and Literature Week, spearheaded by Dr. Woodson, known as the “father of Black history,” in 1924. It was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976.


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