BY JOSEPH STURGEON
In celebration of Black History Month, from Tuesday, February 25 to Thursday, February 27, the mini-gym was filled with cardboard trifolds and students dressed in professional attire for what was called the “Black History Month Wax Museum.” Organized by history teacher Kevin Fair, the event lasted the entire school day for each day it was put on. Students from a variety of U.S. history classes, including Fair’s, Michael Jones’s, Charlie Cardinale’s and more, were involved.
For the event, students chose a prominent figure, group or organization important to black history. Then, they researched and created a project on the topic they had chosen and dressed up as that person or group for the “museum.”
Each cardboard presentation had a bell attached to it. When rung, the student or group presenting the project would “come to life” and give a first-person description of their presentation’s subject, as if they’d experienced what the represented individual or group had done. Fair got the idea for the Black History Month Wax Museum from another history teacher at Blanche Ely High School.
“I have a friend at [Blanche] Ely High School and they do something similar,” Fair said. “She was telling me about her event and how successful it was, and so we decided to bring it to CCHS. We made a couple of tweaks; we wanted to do it not just with the black history class but we wanted to do it with all of the U.S. history classes, so we reached out to the other teachers, and the rest is history.”
“…we wanted to do it with all of the U.S. history classes, so we reached out to the other teachers, and the rest is history.”History teacher Kevin Fair
The event didn’t just consist of one collection of students presenting throughout the day. To make sure everyone in the student body got a chance to view the museum, Fair separated each viewing into 30-minute intervals, so that each personalization class got a chance to visit. Depending on which period someone visited the museum, they would see different projects being presented.
“Different teachers are going to be coming in throughout today and tomorrow,” Fair said. “Cardinale’s [students] will be making an appearance, Thomas’ class will be making an appearance and Hinely’s class will be in here for two periods.”
The projects covered a wide variety of figures in black history, from the abolitionist and Civil Rights movements to today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Among those presented on were the Black Panther Party, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, W.E.B. DuBois and Emmett Till. One student, junior Eric Erazo, chose to do his project on surgeon Charles Drew, an African-American surgeon credited with developing large-scale blood banks.
“Everything he did was interesting; this was a fun project.”Junior Eric Erazo
“His whole life was cool,” Erazo said. “He was, like, the father of the blood banks. Without him, we wouldn’t be able to exchange blood [today.] Everything he did was interesting; this was a fun project.”
Another student, senior Aliyah Khan, chose to do her project on the late mathematician Katherine Johnson, who was one of the first African-American women to work for NASA.
“I had already watched Hidden Figures and I knew some of her story already,” Khan said. “[The movie] really interested me so I decided on her [for the project]. I definitely gained a better understanding of her life and accomplishments. I’d already known that she worked for NASA, but I learned about her doing many of the calculations that sent the first human to [the moon].”
Photo by Makinzi Burgs