LAURINBURG — Students at Covington Street Elementary School brought Black History Month to a close on Monday by celebrating African-American cultural and civil rights pioneers.
The program, titled “My History, Your History, Our History,” explored the contributions of African-Americans to the fabric of the nation as a whole. After a dance by Covington Street’s kindergarten students, members of the school’s fifth-grade class adopted the persona of a prominent historical figure — beginning with the founder of the monthlong national commemoration.
“In February 1926, I announced the celebration of Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month,” said fifth grader Jason Crymes as Carter G. Woodson. “I chose February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.”
Other famous African-Americans represented included abolitionist Frederick Douglass, inventor Garrett Morgan, Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, and contemporary groundbreakers like Misty Copeland, who last year became the first African-American principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre.
Students Javian David, Jahari Brown, and Izeem Graham took turns quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“I still have a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
Covington Street’s data manager Kim Slocum, who helped organize the program, appealed to the more than 100 adults present to take a vested interest in the next generation of leaders, artists, and innovators.
“It’s all of our history, so I implore each and every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, every adult in the building to do me a huge favor,” she said. “This means I want you to challenge yourselves. I would love for you to take not only your child, but someone else’s child, and impart something positive to them.”
Monday night’s program was the first time on Covington Street’s stage for many of the kindergarten students, who Slocum said can build on the confidence gained from the experience.
“I wanted the boys and girls to be extremely proud of themselves,” she said. “We see them day in and day out and we know what they do here at Covington Street, but this was an opportunity to show you guys what they can do. I always tell the children: within yourselves, always expect more. Do more, be more, give more.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.