Middle school program honors African American history

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014

VALLEY GRANDE — In observance of Black History Month, students at Martin Middle School showcased important moments African-Americans contributed to history.

Open to the public, Monday’s program was meant to educate students about the significant people and events that contributed to the movement for equality in a fun and interesting way.

“It’s important just to see the contributions that African Americans have made to America,” school librarian Debra Stauffer. “It’s a way to show that this is a great country and all of our people have contributed to the success of America.”

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Singer-songwriter Ray Charles, shoemaker Homer Plessy, singer Aretha Franklin and R&B group the Jackson 5 were just a few of the legends honored.

Stauffer said it was essential students recognize all African-Americans who gave their time and effort to ensure everyone was given equal rights.

“It took all those everyday people who did their part to make changes, “ Stauffer said. “There were a lot of people that did everything they could do so support the movement and it really made changes in America that really need to be made.”

Students involved in the program said learning about Black History by embodying the spirit of black historians helped them retain the information better than they do reading about it in a textbook.

Nia Brooks, an eighth grader who performed as a backup singers for the R&B group the Supremes, said the program was a great alternative to reading history books to learn about African-American legends. Brooks said the time she spent in the shoes of a backup singer of a legendary group was a fun experience she prepared for months after giving an audition earning her the role.

“Reading it in book … it’s kind of boring that way,” Brooks said. “When you get to experience it, it’s fun.”

Seventh grader Aubi Jackson played a news anchor narrating the black history program. Jackson said she enjoyed being a part of a program that honored the people who gave so much to the country.

Jackson said she and her friends took the responsibility of being a part of this program seriously by rehearsing during and after school.

“We really got into our roles,” Jackson said.

Stauffer said the program was primarily meant to educate the youth, but she hopes that all that attend learn something new also.

“I know those who participated in the program learned a lot, and I hope the audience did too,” Stauffer said.