Celebrating the end of Black History Month

Students+involved+in+AASAP+%28African+American+Student+Acceleration+Program%29+participate+in+the+field+trip+for+Black+History+Month.+Senior+Samantha+Morris+invited+her+classmate+Libby+Dodge+to+join+her+to+create+a+more+diverse+group+attendance.+%E2%80%9CThis+field+trip+was+an+incredible+experience.+It+was+something+different+which+made+it+very+memorable%2C+and+seeing+the+pictures+and+videos+at+the+Griot+Museum+made+it+feel+so+real%2C%E2%80%9D+senior+Libby+Dodge+said.

Jennifer McKissic

Students involved in AASAP (African American Student Acceleration Program) participate in the field trip for Black History Month. Senior Samantha Morris invited her classmate Libby Dodge to join her to create a more diverse group attendance. “This field trip was an incredible experience. It was something different which made it very memorable, and seeing the pictures and videos at the Griot Museum made it feel so real,” senior Libby Dodge said.

To celebrate Black History Month, African American history trivia questions were asked over the announcements, a field trip was held to the GRIOT, the St. Louis Museum of Black History, on Feb. 25 and the 13th annual African American Read In was hosted on Feb. 26.

“No one should forget the hardships that our ancestors struggled through. I went to the library read in. I didn’t read anything but it was fun to watch; a lot of people read really good poems,” senior Brandon Deverse said.

Students read excerpts from various artists at the African American Read In in the library during both lunches.

“I read a little excerpt by a rapper, J. Cole. It’s called More Money. It was just about how money controls society nowadays and he was talking about how to controls black people too and how he just wished he had money. It’s really good,” senior Tashaun Ewing said.

The reading promotes reading and literacy according to Ewing.

“Sometimes people say [reading’s] a dying thing, that nobody reads anymore or reads poems or writes poems. So it’s just a way to get people together that have interests in poems and they can just have fun and jam out,” Ewing said.

The reading allowed students to show their styles and interests through poetry.

“If you like poetry or song lyrics that you just want to use as an artistic outlet but if you don’t have the patience for things like that than no it’s not for you. It’s cool to see people perform and choose specific poems so you can see their style and what they are really into so it’s nice,” Ewing said.

During the 13th annual African American Read-In in the West High library, junior Donte Hopkins reads “Love Your Enemy” by Yusef Iman.  Pizza and dessert was served to all student present. “We all have to live together.  In the past there was so much hatred.  The poem is telling everyone not to forgive them for everything they have done, but instead love them.  It represented how we have to keep moving forward and love each other no matter what happens,” Hopkins said.
Debra Klevens
During the 13th annual African American Read-In in the West High library, junior Donte Hopkins reads “Love Your Enemy” by Yusef Iman. Pizza and dessert was served to all student present. “We all have to live together. In the past there was so much hatred. The poem is telling everyone not to forgive them for everything they have done, but instead love them. It represented how we have to keep moving forward and love each other no matter what happens,” Hopkins said.

Principal Jen Sebold, along with several other staff members, took a group of West High students to visit Griot, St. Louis’s Black History museum.

“There’s a lot of wax figures, and it goes through things like the slave trade, with actual documents from St. Louis blown up on the wall,” Sebold said. “It takes you through madam CJ Walker and her beauty products, and the value of hair in black culture. It has an entire room that has all kinds of information on figures who contributed to music and poetry, like Miles Davis and Josephine Baker.”

Junior Sydney Jackson attended the field trip and found the section of the museum on the slave trade particularly moving.

“We watched a video when we first got there called the Middle Passage, and it was basically about when the slaves were on a ship coming to America, and it really struck me how bad the conditions were; they were treated like animals,” Jackson said.

Jackson feels that all students could be impacted by this museum.

“I told Dr. Sebold that I think more people need to participate. They should take a different group that’s more diverse, because I feel like as African Americans, we already know a lot of this stuff because our family educates us on it, but a lot of other people don’t know how bad it was,” Jackson said. “It shouldn’t be forgotten.”

Through the field trip, Black History Month was commemorated, and Jackson thinks this is important.

“Black History Month can serve as a specific amount of time that we take out just to celebrate black culture and think about what we went through and what we overcame to make advancements in culture for everybody,” Jackson said.

Black History Month is important to acknowledge by caucasians as well as African Americans according to Sebold.

“I think listening to those voices that sometimes we want to shut down because white experiences and African American experiences are different, and we don’t have the same perspectives,” Sebold said. “I think the first step is listening and learning is the hardest step to overcome, because we want to hear, but we don’t want to listen. We need to listen and know that everyone has a story and everyone has a perspective, and everyone is valuable, and all of their perspectives and stories are as well.”