From the classroom to community-wide events, February was a month to honor Black history.
There is no argument that Black history is American history at Columbus School for Girls. However, Black History Month was a prime opportunity to amplify that belief with learning and leading across the school.
A CSG parent and Ohio State University professor, Dr. Hasan Jeffries, visited Form V to teach a lesson about slavery and its historical and present-day implications. The class was reminiscent of an age-appropriate college lecture complete with student interaction and of course, lots and lots of questions. Jeffries is an author and expert in African American and US History. According to his OSU profile, his current book project, entitled Stealing Home: Ebbets Field and Black Working Class Life in Post-Civil Rights New York, explores the struggle of working-class African Americans to secure and enjoy their freedom rights.
A student-led assembly in Middle School highlighted the importance of Black history from the Black student perspective. Students highlighted Black Americans’ contributions to our country’s story, historically and in the present day. All students then participated in a friendly game of Kahoots where they tested their knowledge.
In Upper School, the Beauty of African American Culture Club (BAACC) led an assembly focused around the beauty of Black bodies and the strength and success of Black women. Students ended the assembly by facilitating break-out sessions where all students discussed the intersectionality of their own identities and the importance of active allyship when it comes to building inclusive communities. The powerful conversations are sure to continue as all students explore their identity growth and development and how they advocate for themselves and others.
Author Lynda Blackmon Lowery visited Middle School to share stories from her book Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom. A fascinating storyteller, Lowery talked about how she used steady, nonviolent confrontation to drive change and encouraged the students to use their own voices and power to make changes in their communities. Given that Lowery marched for civil rights and was imprisoned eleven times before her 15th birthday, her story resonated strongly with students, especially as they realized she was their age when she protested.
“I thought that the speaker was amazing and so inspiring,” one student said. “I was so happy to meet such a brave and independent woman who has done so many incredible acts of kindness in her life. Her story was so amazing and it inspired me to make the world a better place, even though I’m just a kid.”
More than 200 CSG community members came together for the annual Soul Food Feast. The BAACC presents the Soul Food Feast during Black History Month each year to highlight the club’s accomplishments and mission and to support the services provided by a local nonprofit. This year, proceeds will benefit The Olive Tree Foundation for Girls, a nonprofit started by CSG alumna Kimberly Hall ‘91. Olive Tree provides scholarships and mentorship to CSG students who receive financial aid, helping to cover expenses not typically covered by tuition, such as uniforms, books, tutoring, athletics, class trips, technology, and more. It was an honor to have Hall in attendance to talk about Olive Tree. The audience also heard from CSG students who are supported by the foundation.
While Black History Month has ended, we look forward to the continued conversations and classroom interactions that follow when a country, state, city, or school community pause to recognize and intentionally fill the gaps in America’s recorded history.