(SPRINGFIELD, Ky.) – Schools in the Washington County School District celebrated Black History Month with a number of special activities throughout the month of February. During the annual observance, Washington County Elementary School and North Washington Elementary School, in partnership with community education and Springfield Renaissance, hosted speakers Springfield Mayor Debbie Wakefield and Springfield natives, Angie Logan Edwards, Alma Burton Edelen and Pam Grundy, along with Laura Smith, intern for the Springfield Main Street Program and the Springfield Opera House, Kathy Elliott, City Project Coordinator at Springfield City Hall and Nell Haydon, Director of the Springfield Main Street Program. Each speaker spoke to students about nationally and internationally significant African-American women and challenged students to be the best version of themselves and to use their gifts to bring about better communities and a better world. The sessions highlighted Springfield native Senator Georgia Davis Powers and her contributions to the political world.
Mayor Debbie Wakefield speaking to students at WCES. (Photo by Hillary C. Wright-Kaufman)
“The session with third graders at WCES was delightful,” said Elliott. The students were very attentive, responsive and asked several questions. They were fascinated that [Senator Powers] actually lived here and wanted to find her house!”
Springfield native Alma Burton Edelen speaking to students at WCES. (Photo by Hillary C. Wright-Kaufman)
Springfield native Angie Logan Edwards speaking to students at WCES. (Photo by Hillary C. Wright-Kaufman)
Students at NWES also participated in other activities centered around Black History Month including a video tour of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, viewing documentaries on Emmett Till and George Stinney, discussions on the Jim Crow South, slavery in colonial America, the slave trade, reading and discussions on Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington Carver and studying and listening to music from black musicians. Students at WCES also learned the story of Ruby Bridges, who helped pave the way to desegregation in her school and viewed the video, Working to Make a Change.
Pam Grundy speaking to students at NWES. (Photo submitted)
Washington County Middle School students participated in an exercise involving them researching quotes from famous African-American. Students worked with partners and wrote their interpretation of the quote and how they could apply it in their lives.
Students at Washington County High School participated in several discussions in honor of Black History Month including a lesson on kindness involving the story of Moses Scott, who was a student during segregation, who later graduated from Harvard, studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, reading the play, A Raisin in the Sun, reading the works of poet Maya Angelou and author Alice Walker, researching the slave trade, discussing famous black historians, viewing the film Roots, studying the Harlem Renaissance and jazz music and researching Bessie Coleman, who was the first African-American woman to earn a pilot’s license. Art students at WCHS are also currently working on artwork with the theme of diversity and Black History Month.
“It is crucial for all of us to learn about the history of Black Americans,” says Washington County Schools Superintendent Dr. J. Robin Cochran. “If there is ever a time for us to apply lessons of equality and the pursuit of freedom, now is the time to join together for the betterment of society. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism of war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”