By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor,

In this week’s news of White people using the n-word, a Hyattsville principal is apologizing after saying the derogatory term in front of students during a Black History month program last week.

Fox 5 D.C. reported that Joy Morrow, principal of New Hope Academy, stepped in last minute to speak for the school’s Black History Month program after the scheduled keynote speaker canceled 40 minutes before the event.

Joy Morrow, principal of New Hope Academy in Hyattsville, MD, apologized after using the n-word during a Black History Month program last week. (Courtesy Photo)

With the eleventh hour changes, Morrow decided she’d recreate a speech she had given 25 years ago on “What Dr. Martin Luther King’s teaching meant in my life.” Fox 5 reported.

Morrow, who grew up in Dubuque, Iowa said she prefaced the speech by explaining to students in sixth through 12th grades that she would be using her own experiences to offer, “a testimony of how God worked in my life, through Dr. King’s teachings,” and would be utilizing the n-word to help illustrate the racist, all-White community in which she grew up.

“They were still burning crosses in the 1970s,” Morrow said in her talk, and said that the language used by people of the Dubuque community was used to, “engender fear, hatred, and loathing of African Americans.”

While meant for emphasis on the topic, Morrow admits that using the n-word distracted students from the lessons she hoped to offer from her speech.

“The n-word instead acted to distract some of the children rather than impacting the students to understand the negative power this word had on shaping a young child. For this reason and others, I regret using it,” Morrow said in a press release, according to Fox 5.

The principal said after the Black History Month program students were clearly disturbed by her use of the n-word.

Per Morrow’s “Principal’s Message” found on the school’s website, New Hope Academy is a diverse school that emphasizes embracing the diversity.

“Founded on principles and values that are universal to all the great faiths, New Hope is committed to supporting parents to raise the next generation of leaders. The school is a richly diverse environment, racially, ethnically, and religiously,” she wrote.

According to the Associated Press the school has since held discussion sessions for students and faculty regarding Morrow’s use of the word and hate speech.


Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor