A Black History Experience at EWMMS

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Edmund W. Miles Middle School honored Black History Month by taking students back in time through a series of visual projects and interactive lessons to help them get a feel for what their forefathers experienced and what they meant to Black culture and civil rights today.

One center of attraction was the school’s little gym, which was transformed into a Black history museum. Dioramas that recreated signature moments including the Birmingham demonstrations, the Freedom Rides and even President Obama’s Inaugural address were on display. There were also commemorative presentations on famous Black heroes such as Jackie Robinson, the Greensboro Four, and entertainers such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. One student even created a Black History Monopoly game that covered important dates and events in the civil rights movement.

Denise Ferencik’s art students created a display of colorful Adinkra cloths, replicating traditional garb that originated in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The cloths bear traditional Akan symbols for proverbs, maxims and attitudes that carry a spiritual meaning. Ms. Ferencik also displayed symbols used by slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Choral teacher Carl Ferrara also took students on a trip on the Underground Railroad by sharing historical facts and leading the EWMMS chorus in a series of musical performances, including songs that were popular among slaves. The group culminated with James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Classrooms and the school’s library also hosted interesting activities that made the school’s Black History Month recognition more of an experience than a unit of study.