On Thursday, April 20, the sixth-graders presented a Civil Rights Museum to showcase their months-long study of the Long Freedom Struggle and civil rights. Since November, students have been learning the complicated and sometimes difficult history of the fight for civil rights in America. In addition to the MLK Play that sixth- graders produce in January, the Civil Rights Museum is an opportunity for students to more deeply investigate stories and episodes in the curriculum.
Students elected to focus on one of five time periods: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (1600s-1865); Reconstruction and Jim Crow (1865-1940s); Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968); Nationalism and Cousin Movements (1965-1980); and Modern Activism (1980-Today). Within each period, students developed artifacts and prepared historical information to educate visitors about their exhibits.
Artifacts included photographs and video charting the Black Lives Matter movement; data about how attitudes toward racism have changed over time: speeches and letters by prominent leaders like Frederick Douglass; models of lunch counters, railcars, and even a slave ship; objects such as a papier-mâché bus to represent the Montgomery Bus Boycott; and a recreation of the gay pride flag. Rather than tell all of history in each exhibit, students aimed to zoom in on a particular concept or event to help viewers understand small moments in what amounts to more than 400 years of history.