Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson, Malcolm X and Colin Kaepernick…names that come up when people think about who has made a change in black culture. U. City honored the contributions of these famous African Americans and several others during Black History Month in February.
Room L-206 was transformed into an art gallery by dedicating it to “Athletes Who Have Moved Civil RIghts Forward.” Yul Amerson and Nathan Pipes, social studies teachers, collaborated with Saaba Leutzler, English teacher, to create the pieces featured on the walls of the room.
“I took the original theme of athletes who contributed to the Civil Rights movement and turned it into an Art Show, something I would have thought I could get done [with fewer students contributing],” Amerson said.
Typically, student council organizes an all school assembly to celebrate Black History Month. However, Amerson said not enough students were able to participate in planning the assembly, which is why Amerson took it upon himself to come up with a new way to recognize Black History Month.
A small group of students from Amerson’s and Nathan Pipes’ social studies classes did the drawings and Lutzeler’s freshman students wrote bios about the athletes who moved civil rights forward.
“Since I was launching a mini-unit on biography, this was the perfect opportunity for my ninth graders to collaborate across both content and grade-level,” Lutzeler said. “They helped by independently researching and writing mini-bios to accompany many of the paintings.”
Ali Mitchell, junior, is on student council so she has been involved in the assemblies since she was a freshman.
“it feels like an obligation for me because it’s just been my thing since I got to U. City,” Mitchell said. “Lowkey, once the [class of 2018] left, I feel like it was my responsibility to keep going to and keep trying to have Black History Month still known and still relevant today.”
During the last week of February, students visited the display in the art gallery.
“These pictures inspired the students to chase their dreams and not let the color of their skin… define them and make them feel lesser than anybody else of a lighter complexion… to let them know that everybody has room to be great in their own way,” Mitchell said. “You have to strive for it like these other people have.”