OUR SCHOOLS: Black History Month and Local Living Legends Honored in Our Schools
By reliving and remembering history, we create awareness of the struggles and challenges that African Americans overcame in this country. February has become a time designated for reflection, open dialogue, interdisciplinary education, and shared advocacy initiatives. Every race is connected to the rich history of this nation, and by celebrating Black History Month everyone can be included in a tradition of acknowledgement, inclusion and community engagement.*
Our schools celebrated Black History Month in unique and powerful ways this year.
Ten of our Journalism and Media Magnet School seniors filmed interviews with nearly a dozen Hartford elders, local “Living Legends,” over the course of the last month. When filmmaking was complete, the school hosted a screening event on February 29th for the Living Legends to attend. The objective of was to provide an opportunity for JMA students to apply their journalism and media knowledge and skills while building relationships with community members to showcase the contributions of local African Americans.
Living Legends Thirman Milner (l) and Carolyn Brooks Burton enjoy the event.
The collaboration was led by Anne Marie Williams, creator of K’La Rue Educational Program, Shayna Chomko, JMA lead in planning, and Steve Hodges, JMA TV/Radio teacher, lead in plan implementation.
The JMA seniors who conducted interviews, edited and prepped footage, and presented finished product included Jhan Spears, Claire Faulkner , Destiny Walters, Ashley Floyd, Natalia Pagan, Olivia Costa, Xyania Clarke, Khamari Israel, Cyncere Preston, Adrian Sanchez, Steve Hodges, JMA Teacher. Soon we will publish the video interviews on our website.
Journalism and Media Magnet School Principal Leonard Epps escorts storyteller Gertude Banks into the event.
On February 26, 2016, the M. D. Fox Community had two school assemblies with students from Kindergarten through 8th grade participating. This well-attended event was a compilation of student learning for the entire Black History Month. They celebrated the achievement of African Americans through dance, song, poetry, a reenactment of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and student recitations. Special art work was created to mark the occasion with paper woven Kente-like mats, portraits, doves of peace, and paper quilt designs which depicted the encoded messages from the Underground Railroad.
Below is just a sample of just some of the other outstanding Black History Month celebrations in our schools:
Annie Fisher STEM 2/26 For "African-American Innovators, Inventors and Intellectuals" students prepared music, poetry readings, dance, short skits, drumming and profiles of famous African-Americans (past and present). Students from Rawson School shared the afternoon with the Annie Fisher students.
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
Included a panel discussion about “Reflecting the Dream and its Implications for Education” for Grades 5-8, a documentary on Dr. Martin Luther King in CT that was created by Simsbury High School students and their annual Black History Month assembly.
Hosted their Annual Black History Month Dinner and Celebration sponsored by the PTO.
On 2/23 the school hosted an intergenerational Black History Month Program including the students of Parkville School and the Parkville Senior Center to honor Ms. Gertrude Blanks, a storyteller for the Hartford Public Library.
Bulkeley High School On 2/25 hosted a program, Honoring the Journey – Our Vision, Our Voice, Our Legacy.
S.A.N.D. School On2/19 hosted a Middle School Round Table with African-American community leaders and on 2/23 held a Family Night: Featuring Black History Month Performances. On 2/25 the held their K-5 Black History Month Assemblies.
Global Communications Academy On 2/26 they hosted their annual African Market in celebration of Black History Month, themed “Celebrating Our Accomplishments Thru Community Connections.” Students volunteered to share daily “Black History Facts” over the PA system each morning, held a door decorating contest, and a school-wide Drama and Dance Production.
Please join Hartford Public Schools on Saturday, March 19th for A Conversation about Race, Racism, and Equity, the second in our public dialogues about building Family Friendly Schools together. Click here for more information.
*Excerpted from Community College of Aurora’s “The Fox Call”