Black History Heroes, 2nd Edition – February 17, 2016

We are continuing to celebrate Black History Month here at Beechwood. We hope you will be able to stop into the office to see the Black History display that we have started. There are quotes, artifacts, books, pictures and an amazing timeline. If you have anything to contribute, please let us know.

This week’s contribution to our series, “Black History Heroes,” comes from Cedra Wright. Her son Johno is in the 5th grade and her daughter Jamiese is in our 6th grade. We appreciate her willingness to participate in this project.

Far too often our kids are taught about Martin L. King, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. While they all are great figures in African American History, there’s so many more that our kids do not know about.

In fact, Rosa Parks was not the first African American woman to refuse to give up her seat to a Caucasian on the Montgomery Bus Line. Nine months prior, there was a 15 year old African American girl named Claudette Colvin who refused to give up her seat much in the same way as Rosa Parks did. She was beaten and arrested. Years later, Colvin was documented as saying that due to her being darker complexioned (unmarried, with a soon to be child, and younger), the NAACP preferred to use Rosa Parks (who was 42 years old, married, with a lighter complexion) as their spokesperson. Just like that, Claudette Colvin’s story was not told and Rosa Parks became the face of the Montgomery Boycott movement. It’s so important for our kids to know that a 15 year old African American girl changed history.

Many of our kids do not know who George Washington Carver is… the ones who are familiar with him, know him as the inventor of peanut butter. But our kids have not been taught that he also invented over 300 other products.

Just like many of our kids don’t know that Historically Black Colleges & Universities exist. After the Civil War, many slaves were denied access into colleges. But black ministers and some philanthropists set up colleges all across the south to educate freed slaves. There are now over 100 HBCUs across the United States. Three of those HBCUs existed before the Civil War.

These are just a few things I wish our kids learned in school about Black History.

Thanks again for sharing, Cedra. Those who read this will surely learn something new. I know I did. Next week we feature another installment of “Black History Heroes.” Contributions for this third installment will feature contributions for Beechwood Staff.

-Mr. Laurance