Speed Reads

Only in America

Only in America: The misguided voice coach

An English teacher allegedly urges a black student to read a Langston Hughes poem with a "blacker" delivery — and more in our collection of strange revelations about the nation

A Virginia English teacher has been suspended for allegedly telling a black student to read a poem with a "blacker" delivery. Ninth-grader Jordan Shumate claims teacher Marilyn Bart interrupted his reading of Langston Hughes' "Ballad of a Landlord," and said, "Blacker, Jordan — c'mon, blacker. I thought you were black." Bart allegedly finished the poem herself, sounding, in Shumate's words, "like a slave, basically."