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Schools, black history month

While many West Knox schools are celebrating Black History Month in individual classrooms throughout February, some schools are having special school-wide programs.

Farragut Middle School will celebrate with 55 student dancers and musicians from the Austin-East Performing Arts and Sciences Magnet High School at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 25. The program will feature student choreography by Austin-East Dance Company members as well as traditional dance and music by the Austin-East West African Dance Ensemble and Djembe Orchestra.

“Black History Month is important because it is an opportunity to learn about and recognize the contributions of another culture,” said Donna Hardy, seventh-grade assistant principal at FMS. “For example, African American sports heroes and athletes get recognized, but arts and music often don’t. Students performing from the magnet school will be bringing music and dance from Africa that came over with the slaves,” she said.

Hardy invited the group to come because she said they educate as well as entertain.

Rukiya Foster, foreign language educator and coordinator of the Science Engineering Communication Mathematics Enrichment program at Farragut High School, said most of African American history was cut out of the history books.

“Most people don’t know it was an African-American man who invented the traffic light. Their contributions were either denied or attributed to someone else,” Foster said.

“If you learn from history as an African-American person, you appreciate who you are and what you have. You see the struggles people went through before you; that somebody paved the way for you because they took a stand,” Foster said.

“Knowledge is power,” she added. “It’s important to know about everybody’s culture, to have a realistic view. People have stereotypes and sometimes are afraid of certain races because we don’t know about them.”

Foster said SECME is sponsoring a program with several activities to celebrate Black History Month Friday, Feb. 25. The group will have orators to speak and the step team to perform its African style of dancing that involves clapping and stomping. A game show based on “Jeopardy” will feature African-American history questions with prizes given to the winners.


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