Black History Month was brought to life by the scholars of City High Middle School in February. Through four dedicated scholar-led committees, a variety of events were planned for scholars to attend during and after school hours. One of the committees also dedicated its time toward the creation of two bulletin boards filled with Black history and beauty. After months of careful planning, scholars were able to host and attend their own events and see the results of their work.
The four committees were visual arts, after-school events, assembly, and promotions. Each of the committees had separate responsibilities, but they were able to come together and collaborate on new and creative ideas.
Bulletin board creation was led by the visual arts committee, a group of scholars responsible for decorating the hallways of the school with Black history. One of their boards put a spotlight on Black pioneers who made history with their innovative and creative ideas. They highlighted people from all periods of history, from the inventor of home security to the first Black president of the United States.
Their second board featured a wide array of Black beauty, which included photos of Black artists, City alumni and celebrities, along with a representation of Black culture through fashion, athletics, and art.
“Our favorite part of being on this committee was taking a step back to see it all come together,” said the members of the visual arts committee. “It’s rewarding to see our fellow scholars and teachers stopping next to our board to pay attention to the details.”
The promotions committee was in charge of making their school-wide news network announcements so scholars were aware of Black history events happening at City. Also, these scholars made sure to sprinkle in achievements done by Black individuals, and other relevant information that scholars could learn about.
“I think it is important that we recognize achievements that Black individuals have made,” said Jameel, co-chair for the promotions committee. “It's a time to really understand and spread awareness.”
The assembly committee was in charge of planning and implementing Black History Month school-wide assemblies. Upon their first meeting in December, the committee began brainstorming ways to incorporate Black History Month events that were engaging for scholars and went beyond what has been seen before.
Their opening event was a wax museum skit, which featured scholars acting as significant Black historical figures. The audience was able to engage with these characters and ask them questions about their experiences and history. These characters included Black inventors, creators, and athletes.
The committee also organized a Family Feud game show in the assembly, allowing scholars to answer questions about different facts and information that they had been given from a previous Black history-focused assembly.
“When you hear about Black History Month, you automatically associate it with a dark past,” said Jayda from the assembly committee. “But there are a lot of happy and successful activities that have happened in our Black community.”
“Black history activities allow scholars to see a different aspect of the Black community,” said Alliyah from the assembly committee. “We have been planning this assembly for months and it felt good to see it come together. The way that we captured education through the assembly is unique, and not every school has that.”
Lastly, the after-school committee led all of the events outside of school hours, one being a poetry cafe event. Scholars were offered food and refreshments and had the opportunity to converse with their peers before the event kicked off. The event, hosted by one of the after-school committee members, featured Black poetry writers in the community, along with scholars from City.
The poetry was powerful, ranging from Black historical events to happenings in today’s society. There was an organized list of people who had poetry prepared, but scholars also had the option to improvise and speak poetry that they had thought of during the inspirational event.
“The poetry event allowed members of our community to share different ideas and opinions,” said the members of the after-school committee. “It is a great opportunity to bring everyone together.”
As Black History Month came to an end, City scholars reflected on the importance of the month.
“It focuses on Black expression, through arts and all of the other ways it can be expressed.” - Nuriya, chair of the assembly committee.
“It’s a way for people to educate themselves beyond MLK and Rosa Parks. It gives information from the perspective of everyday people.” - Madisen, visual arts committee.
“This month sheds light on our excellence; on what Black individuals have done in this country and around the world.” - E’Nyiah, co-chair of the promotions committee.
Meghan Jackson, Assistant Principal at City was ecstatic about the work the scholars had put into Black History Month.
“It takes a delicate level of maturity and collaboration to be a part of these committees,” said Jackson. “I trust every single one of them and that is something I will forever be grateful for. I am extremely proud of the work they have produced this year!”
During the month of March, City scholars will wrap up their Black history events but will continue to highlight Black excellence and beauty throughout the school year and beyond.