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Nathan Hale Elementary honors African American contributions at annual Black History Month program

LANSING, Ill. (March 4, 2024) – Nathan Hale Elementary School wrapped up Black History Month with a program to celebrate African American achievements on February 29 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

“The kids were really looking forward to it,” said Joseph Kent, Principal at Nathan Hale Elementary School. “This was all about being proud of your history and making sure you shine, and tonight they shined.”

Celebrating African American history

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Nathan Hale Elementary celebrated past, present, and future contributions of African Americans at its Black History Program. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The program featured poems, songs, and quotes performed by students, paying homage to African American icons.

The evening began with guests mingling and enjoying refreshments.

Kimberly Creed, a second grade teacher at Nathan Hale, led the program as the master of ceremonies.

Jennifer Estrada, Music Teacher at Nathan Hale, led a group of students as they sang “Lift Every Voice,” also referred to as the Black National Anthem. The song was originally written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in the 1900s but was later turned into a song by his brother J. Rosamond Johnson.

Aaron Jones made a speech about John Lewis, a notable Civil Rights activist. Lewis led and helped organize many Civil Rights movements, including the Freedom Rides, the 1963 March on Washington, and the Selma to Montgomery Marches.

Major Cummings recited a quote from President Barack Obama. Obama was elected as the first African American President of the United States in 2008. He then went on to serve a second term as president in 2012.

Lastly, London Archie read her speech about the “Meaning of Black History,” which focused on the contributions of African Americans to the United States.

“The kids saw themselves involved in making the community better by simply projecting what they have learned and being able to showcase it in front of all who came,” said Kent.

Kent says the school administration plans to make next year’s event even grander.

Black History exhibition

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The exhibits that decorated the walls of Nathan Hale’s hallways consisted of Black History-focused artwork. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The evening ended with guests taking a tour of the school’s Black History exhibition located in the corridors. The exhibits that decorated the walls of Nathan Hale’s hallways consisted of Black History-focused artwork.

Students and teachers spent the month of February creating the displays.

Photos from the night

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Attendees gather in Nathan Hale’s corridors to view the Black History exhibition created by students and teachers. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Black History
A display was created to pay homage to Motown record-label founder Berry Gordy and original artists who signed to the label. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Black History
The Jackson 5 signed with Motown Records in 1968. Attendees were able to scan the QR code located next to each artist to play their hit songs. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
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Attendees walked Nathan Hale’s corridors to view Black History exhibitions. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Mrs. Agosto’s second grade class wrote their versions of the “I Have A Dream” speech to pay homage to minister and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Ebony Magazine, founded by John H. Johnson, focuses on African American news, culture, and entertainment. A series of Ebony magazines with Black icons on the covers were a part of Nathan Hale’s Black History exhibit. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Other African American icons honored by Nathan Hale:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Michelle Obama
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Maya Angelou
  • Nelson Mandela
  • W. E. B. Du Bois

Nathan Hale Elementary School is located at 19055 Burnham Ave in Lansing.

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Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.