Students Honor Black History Through Education

To commemorate Black History Month, students in the ONYX club turned teachable moments into a much larger lesson around the theme of “What You Didn’t Know About Black History.”

Through various presentations during Morning Meetings in February, students highlighted Black history that has too often been overlooked.

“We chose this theme aligned with our motto in ONYX of ‘Embrace, Educate and Empower’ to read through the reality of our history textbooks and share the history that was hidden by the world,” explained Caleb Jakes ’22, who chairs ONYX with Shamira Guillaume ’21.

On February 4, Jakes and Guillaume shared a short film, “What I Wasn’t Taught in School.” Through the use of spoken word, the film conveyed its important message of individuals who have been ignored in history lessons like Ella Baker, one of the most influential women of the civil rights movement.

An informative slideshow on February 12, called “Six Stories You Didn’t Know About Black History” featured the legacy of the Kamoinge Workshop, one of the first collectives of African-American photographers created in 1963. 

“For so long, history has been told by the most privileged individuals, with little regard for the unheard voices of so many others,” said Sophia Viscarello ’21, Morning Meeting co-chair. “Having the opportunity to learn so much and hear stories told from different voices was so rewarding."

ONYX members closed out the month with an interactive Kahoot game filled with trivia about Jackie Robinson, the Black Panthers and the New Chance Fund, among others. Prizes for the winners included gift cards aimed at supporting Black-owned businesses.

“My favorite part of this job is working with students like Shamira and Caleb. I’m always impressed with their energy and creative ideas,” said Karen Brown, director of equity and inclusion and ONYX’s faculty advisor. “I loved everything they did this year for Black History Month highlighting ‘unknown facts’ that many were unaware of.”

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