Posts filed under ‘Black History Month’
Black History Month remains an important time to honor the heritage of African-Americans; and APS has some significant connections with the civil rights movement. Atlanta Public Schools has had many famous students, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lena Horne, Mayor Maynard Jackson, Nipsey Russell and others.
The district’s Museum Curator, Cathy Loving, sat down with us to give us a small glimpse into some of the connections that APS has with the civil rights movement in this video.
The South Atlanta High School hosted a performance of the play “The Boycott” on February 28, 2013. The cast numbered over thirty actors, actresses, singers and dancers and the play highlighted events surrounding the bus boycott in Montgomery Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement.
“The Boycott” intermixed personal and group dynamics along with music, dance and monologues to illustrate the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955 to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling took effect and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional.
“The Boycott” is an intergenerational play featuring the students of South Atlanta High School, the Harriet Daniel Senior Center Dancing Divas and other members of the community. South Atlanta Drama Instructor Tia Cowart and South Atlanta High extend a special thanks to Ms. Gwen Hubbard and Ms. Joyce Lewis for bringing this project to South Atlanta High School!
February 1st marked the first day of Black History Month. A bit of history also occurred at College and Career Day at W. L. Parks Middle School. The College and Career Day focused on exposing students to the many post-secondary opportunities available to them and how critical it is to prepare for these opportunities now. Over 30 College and Career Day participants shared their enthusiasm, dedication and expertise from their trade school, alma mater or career. This year, we were privileged to have individuals representing various colleges and technical schools, as well as a living legend in the person of Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian. Dr. Vivian is known as one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s closest friends and faithful lieutenants during the Civil Rights Movement. He shared his stories of discrimination, racism as well as stories of determination and triumph. His soft voice but strong spirit engaged our students from beginning to end. It was indeed a joy to have Dr. Vivian grace us with his presence.
Students also had the opportunity to meet Mr. Wilkerson from The Georgia Driving Academy. As a senior instructor for the GDA, Mr. Wilkerson brought an actual truck cab to Parks which hitches to 18 wheeler trucks. Students were able to make real world connections while he demonstrated what he discussed.
Mr. Charles King, an IT Consultant and businessman, was another dynamic presenter who spoke with passion and excitement about his profession and alma mater, Florida A & M University. Mr. King was able to capture our students by expressing the critical need for innovative and out of the box thinkers who also meet minimum requirements and training to be tomorrow’s trendsetters. His passion was evident and contagious.
Parks MS had a dynamic and informative College and Career Day that truly was an eye-opening and impressionable experience for our students. We are grateful for all our participants and know that their presentations have sparked our students towards greatness and success.
written by Latarsha Mills-McKie Ed.S Guidance Counselor, Parks Middle School
Can you name the first African American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize? While many would incorrectly answer, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” students at Scott Elementary School know that Ralph Bunche won the award in 1950—14 years before King—making him the first African American recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Responding to daily African American history trivia is just one way the students at Scott are celebrating Black History Month. Every day during the morning announcements, students listen as the black history trivia question of the day is presented. Leadership Support Specialist, Malvina Hadley, is coordinating Scott’s Black History Month events. She says seeing the students’ increased participation and enthusiasm for the trivia piece has been very refreshing.
“It’s been a big hit,” said Hadley. “After they hear the questions, they race to their classroom computers to look up the correct answers, and they can’t wait to put their answers in the answer box on the way from lunch. We’re seeing more and more participation every day.”
Trivia question winners receive school currency know as Scott Bucks, which they can use to purchase items from the school store. Scott Bucks are part of the school’s behavior modification program, and are generally issued as a reward for good behavior.
In addition to the trivia challenges, students have celebrated Black History Month by creating an African American Quilt; decorating school walls with Footprints in Time—paper footprints with the names and contributions of students’ favorite African Americans written on them; and a special luncheon featuring traditional African American foods on the menu.
The big event, however, was the school’s culminating activity, the Black History Month program. Students showed off their talent and black history knowledge as they performed in front of their peers, teachers and administrators. The program included African dancers, spoken word poetry by “The Langston Hughes Poets,” a presentation by Scott’s Tuskegee Airmen, a tribute to Whitney Houston and interviews with the Little Rock Nine, courtesy of Scott Elementary’s “channel seven nightly news.”
Scott’s interim principal, Jimmye Hawkins, says she is very pleased with the level of participation from the students and the staff at Scott. She thought it was very important to put the right amount of time and energy into Black History Month, because she wanted students to learn about their history, and more importantly she wanted students to know about the everyday people who served as trail blazers.
“I really want them to understand that it’s not about the flash and dash—it’s not just about the athletes and celebrities you see on TV,” Hawkins said. It’s about real, everyday people who worked hard and sacrificed to open doors for African Americans today.”