Martinsville, VA -- A Martinsville school project is creating a lot of controversy. Students at the Piedmont Governor's School presented a class project to city council on Tuesday. At that meeting, one member of council was offended by a student's work.
Each of the high school juniors in the class made a square of the quilt to represent a research project in hopes it would be displayed in the municipal building.
One of the squares represented their visit to a hydroelectric plant. As it was explained in a statement to ABC 13 and at the council meeting, the dark figure on the left was intended to represent the darkness about the value of the facility before their visit. Then, the gold figure on the other side was their knowledge afterward. When the quilt was presented to city council, Councilwoman Sharon Hodge took that square a different way.
"Excuse me. Um, why is the small black person the negative image?" said Hodge.
Hodge continued to explain she was offended about the black image being the before image and the gold person being the after image.
Councilman Mark Stroud was at that meeting. He says Hodge has very strong feelings concerning race and he wasn't surprised by the reaction. However, he says looking back, he thinks it may have been better to address the issue after the meeting.
"I think she didn't realize the ramifications of negative publicity about this," said Stroud.
School representatives say they meant it in a positive light and it was made out of love and they never meant to offend anyone.
Hodge declined an interview with ABC 13, saying she has received threats and she did not want to comment further. Meanwhile, no decision has been made whether to hang the quilt.
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