by Bishop R. Wilson
For New Pittsburgh Courier
There is a generally believed myth that suburban school districts are not doing enough to educate their students on African-American history. As an employee of Chartiers Valley School District, an African-American male who proudly serves as the prelate of Nova Scotia jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ—who in his own right works hard to share significant pieces of Black history—I am godly proud of a school district that teaches Black history, as well as the history of other cultures, throughout the year.
STUDENTS ENJOY HISTORY
I’ve seen third grade teacher Corey Nixon’s class going throughout the building, singing “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.” When I saw and heard it—students of all races singing such a historical song that kept African-Americans encouraged during the Civil Rights Era—it brought a tear to my eye. I’ve also witnessed fourth grade teacher Curt Cairns’ class recite the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and be challenged to expand their own dreams.
Chartiers Valley Intermediate School recently put a wonderful display for Black History Month with a wax museum. Four third grade classes researched famous African-Americans and completed multidisciplinary assignments on their selections. For the wax museum, students dressed as their honoree and shared high points of their lives with parents, relatives and friends attending the event. The number and diversity of the honorees was massive. From, President of the United States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to Arreanna Hendricks, the first African-American nurse, the event was nothing short of impressive.
Other honorees included Garrett Morgan, inventor of the traffic light; baseball stars Jackie Robinson, Henry Aaron, Josh Gibson and Roberto Clemente; Joe Louis; Bessie Coleman; Coretta Scott King; Condolezza Rice; George Washington Carver; George Crum, inventor of the potato chip; and the list goes on.
The event was well attended by the parents of the students. Arthur Williams, who is a world class body builder, came to see his daughter Sidney honor athlete Florence Griffith-Joyner. He stated that he learned a lot about the accomplishments of African-Americans he hadn’t known about before.
Margo Carter’s daughter, Simmone, honored Anna and Elizabeth Delaney, graduates of Columbia University and the first African-American female doctors. The Delaney sisters’ story was made into a movie called, “Having Our Say.” Carter stated, “The wax museum is awesome and a great way of learning African-American history.”
I appreciate Brian J. White superintendent of schools, who has championed the cause of cultural diversity within the Chartiers Valley School District. I believe he is trying to make a greater impact with teachers by using various educational methods that include the teaching of cultural diversity and the minority perspective. It is my opinion that the myth of African-American history and cultural diversity of inclusion not being taught in suburban school districts is totally untrue.
The district advocates and promotes Black history in a way that many predominately African-American school districts don’t.