Kimberley Park students live through Black History

Kimberley Park students live through Black History
March 10
00:00 2016
WS/FCS photos
Student Blessed Logan portrays George Washington Carver as part of the “Living Wax Museum.”



First Lady Michelle Obama came to Kimberley Park Elementary School.

So did Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Venus and Serena Williams, Chris Paul, George Washington Carver, Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, Thurgood Marshall, Maya Angelou, Louis Armstrong and Mohammed Ali.

In celebration of Black History Month on Feb. 22, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at the school portrayed notable African-Americans in a “Living Wax Museum.” As younger students came through the auditorium with their teachers, they would stop in front of one of the people being portrayed and, speaking in first person, the student portraying him or her would tell the younger students about his or her life and accomplishments.

Although most of the students stood, fifth-grader Makayla Moore sat – the better to portray Rosa Parks, who made history by declining to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. Makayla chose Parks because she respects what Parks did.

“She didn’t want to give up her seat because she didn’t like how blacks were treated,” Makayla said. “She wanted to change the world.”

Fifth-grader LaDonna Campbell chose to be Mahalia Jackson.

“I like her songs,” LaDonna said.

In her research, LaDonna learned that Jackson marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and was the first black gospel singer to perform at Carnegie Hall.

When LaDonna grows up, she wants to become a lawyer so that she can help people.

Destiny Dunn likes running so she decided to portray Wilma Rudolph, the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics. When Rudolph was little, Destiny said, she had to wear a brace on her left leg. She overcame that to become a great runner.

Jamiya Sanders chose Coretta Scott – later Coretta Scott King –because she likes to read and Coretta Scott was a writer.

The girls’ teacher in the all-girls fifth-grade class is Kimone Campbell. For Campbell, preparing for the living wax museum was a good way for the girls to get a sense of where they have come from and where they need to go. Plus, it helps them develop an appreciation for what others have done for them.

It has other fringe benefits as well, said media coordinator Yvette Evans. “It helps the kids become more comfortable speaking in public,” she said.

In her third grade class, Anna Powell gave her students the option of picking out someone, or, if they didn’t know who they wanted to portray, she would give them a name. James Leggette knew little about Nelson Mandela before he started doing research and learned that he was a South African who worked to end apartheid.

“They should have equal rights,” James said.

After being assigned Thurgood Marshall, Christian Arellano learned that Supreme Court Justice was born on June 2, 1908, and that he was a really good student.

Doing the research and writing their presentations was a good project, Powell said. “I have seen a lot of growth in their writing and confidence.”

Fifth-grader Justin Bruson, who portrayed basketball player Chris Paul, has yet to see Paul, who played at Wake Forest, play in person but he sure has liked watching him play on television. “I grew up a Clippers fan,” Justin said.

A number of students had dressed up and were looking particularly sharp for the day, including third-grader Larry Blackburn who wore a white suit and a tie to portray boxer Joe Louis.

Blessed Logan’s mother, Dorothy, brought him a suit to wear as George Washington Carver. Getting him to wear it was no problem. “He would be happy to dress that way every day,” she said.

Asked what makes her son special, she said, “His heart and his compassion for people.”

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