As the son of former slaves, Carter G. Woodson escaped poverty through education on his way to earning a doctorate from Harvard University. In his studies, he began to notice that the history of blacks in our country were either missing or misrepresented. As such, Dr. Woodson made it his life’s vocation to draw attention to the contributions and influences of their ancestors. Accordingly, in 1915 he founded an organization that would later become known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Then in 1926, Woodson and the ASALH launched a “Negro History Week” to offer focus to his mission and to help school systems coordinate their efforts on the topic of blacks in history. Moreover, Woodson chose the second week in February, as it encompassed both Frederick Douglass’ birthday on February 14th and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th as a fitting time in which to celebrate the historical accomplishments of African Americans. Twenty-six years after his death, President Gerald Ford decreed Black History Month as a national observance in 1976, on both the fiftieth anniversary of the first iteration and America’s bicentennial year.
At St. Agnes, we take great pride in providing a multicultural education which provides truth as the basis for faith, reason and knowledge. So in keeping with the beliefs of our educational program, this year’s celebration of Black History could be seen each morning during our school-wide Community Meeting. Throughout the month of February, our 8th grade students offered a visual and oratorical presentation on the accomplishments of the sometimes forgotten heroes from our nation’s history. Used as a cross-curricular study within their Science, Technology and Social Studies courses; our young scholars researched and represented one of these hidden heroes whose accomplishments made a significant impact in the field of scientific study. To this point, our student leaders portrayed the following group of historical figures through a school-wide address from a researched report by means of the often overlooked skill of public speaking:
Kyle Geary, Blaire Killikelly, Erin Berlin: Garrett Morgan
Leconte Stover, Ben Payne: Daniel Hale Williams
Mikel Lewis, Ishaan Vadakoot: Marie Daly
Jawann Poquiz, Jonah Matthews: Benjamin Banneker
Nadia Jackson, Sarah Mercer: Marie Daly
Winfre McWilliams, Keith Norris: Madame CJ Walker
Grace Adkins, Miriana Kelly: Alex Canady
Taylor Gilmore, Kennedi Henson: Patricia Bath
Brooke Stromberg, Amara Njoku: Mae Jemison
Keon Smith, Darius Harris, Peter Ebuwei: George Washington Carver
Rayven Short, Kelly Endler: Daniel Hale Williams
St. Agnes School, where a student discovers the truth through faith, reason and knowledge.