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2014 Black History Month acknowledgements and celebrations in PBC schools

As is tradition, February is recognized as a time to acknowledge and celebrate one of the many cultures of the American fabric (heritage) specifically known as Black History Month. Black History Month in America is a time to reflect and flash the spotlight throughout history to reveal, review and discover treasures from times past that harbored fear, hatred, greed and ill-will---for if we forget. . . there will be no memory or recall for those things we rejoice in today as a country and as a nation under Divine will. Distortions of the past, the iron chains are being placed in the refinery of education, wisdom and knowledge for prosperity sake.

February is recognized as a time to acknowledge and celebrate one of the many cultures of the American fabric (heritage) specifically known as Black History Month.

The School District of Palm Beach County acknowledgement and celebration of BLACK HISTORY MONTH is alive and well with programs, activities and events of substances to enlighten and entertain students, schools and communities this February of 2014. Highland Elementary School’s World Drumming Ensemble will play in the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County’s Black History Month event set for Saturday, February 22, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the Council offices in Lake Worth. The Ensemble is directed by Music teacher Emmanuel Fergile and the group is comprised of 4th and 5th graders from Highland.

Donna Pawlik, who is coordinating the project with the school and the Cultural Council, said the Resource Depot will also be participating. “In addition to the drumming performance by the World Drumming Ensemble, Afro-Cuban anthropologist Dr. Beatriz Morales Faba will give a presentation on The Drum in the African Diaspora, and participants will be involved in a make and take activity with resources and instruction provided by the Resource Depot.”

The event is open to the public and free of charge. More details contact Ms. Pawlik, 561.202.0500 or

Also a part of the acknowledgements and celebrations in the Palm Beach County School District. . .

At Hidden Oaks Elementary, there will be an Interactive African American Museum and If you would like to learn more about the heritage of African Americans, come and explore the 2nd annual Interactive African American Museum at Hidden Oaks Elementary School. This museum, located in the media center, is open to students and the public, during school hours, through February 26, 2014.

In honor of African-American History Month, Marie Smith, Media Specialist, has put together a unique display of authentic Civil War artifacts, replicas of numerous historical documents and frayed photographs that date back to the early 1800s. Visitors walking through the media center will get to examine actual household items such as wooden butter churns and ‘sad’ irons used by slaves in plantations. They will also get to inspect the ‘sweet grass’ baskets skillfully woven by slaves who had acquired this art form from their ancestors in West Africa. In addition, they can examine a handmade, luxury pocket watch and read an authentic ‘Wanted’ ad for an escaped slave. Many of these items have been acquired by Mrs. Smith on her summer trips to plantations, such as Frampton in South Carolina.

One item that is sure to intrigue visitors is the box (2feet by 8 inches wide and 2 feet by 3 feet long) that Henry Brown used to ‘mail’ himself to freedom. “Students of all grade levels are always amazed that Henry stayed cooped up in that tiny box for 27 hours, with little water and some biscuits, as he travelled 350 miles to freedom!” explained Mrs. Smith. His biography, titled Henry’s Freedom Box, written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, is always a big hit.

A replica of the only handwritten copy of the ‘Gettysburg Address’ is the show stealer at the neighboring table, which showcases authentic Civil War artifacts. Besides this historical document, composed by Abraham Lincoln himself, the table also displays items such as coat buttons and pottery shards excavated from battlefields in Charleston, South Carolina. Moreover, the table showcases a genuine satchel containing actual items soldiers would carry: dice, musket ball, penny whistle, tin cup and flint and sticker. Viewers can even compare it to a muslin slave bag containing a feather, wooden spoon and a slave ‘Bill of Sale’.

Other items of interest include newspapers clippings highlighting important events, such as the Tallahassee Democrat announcing the Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education, an ‘underground railroad quilt’, a document from the 1800s announcing the public auction of slaves, accounting pages from a slave keeper’s record book, and a telegram from Governor Wallace of Alabama to President Kennedy. A visit to this special display of assorted and authentic items representing African American history and collected carefully through years of research and countless travel will definitely enrich the viewer.

As Mrs. Gustafson, the British-born media clerk at Hidden Oaks, put it, “This museum has definitely helped me get a better picture of a significant part of American history.”

For more information please contact Hidden Oaks Principal Sari Myers at or 561-804-3800.

REF: SDPBC (Press Release) Public Affairs Office, Feb. 2014


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