Students at Sampson Middle School honored the contributions of black Americans through a historical reenactment, music, poetry and dance.
The school celebrated its 2016 Black History Program Thursday morning, with the theme “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African-American Memories.” Some of the participants included the Eighth Grade Band, Quisan’s Dance Academy and the SMS N’Truders who performed a step routine. Velicia Everett, a seventh grade teacher and master of ceremony, recited a quite from political leader Marcus Garvey to help explain the purpose of the event. “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
“With that in mind, we gathered today to pay tribute and reflect on the contributions of African-Americans,” Everett said. “The observance of Black History Month allows each and every American to celebrate the rich traditions of African-Americans and the impact African-Americans have made on this country.”
She continued and expressed the importance of remembering important sites of history, such as the Underground Railroad and black communities such as Seneca Village, which is now Central Park in New York City.
“These sites prompt us to remember and overtime become hallowed grounds,” Everett said. “One can not tell the story of America without preserving and reflecting on the places where African-Americans made history.”
During the event, students celebrated and remembered some of North Carolina’s black history, with a skit of the Greensboro Four. On Feb. 1, 1960, students from North Carolina A&T University went to the Woolworth store in Greensboro and refused to leave after being denied service at the lunch counter because they were black. That moment resulted in ongoing protests until the counter at Woolworth was desegregated.
“It was very moving,” said student and narrator Tamar Robinson. “It was really touching.”
Following introductions, Abrianna Vann, an eighth-grader, sang “Breakaway and the Seventh Grade English Language Arts students honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a poem and Sanaa Dyches danced to the words of Maya Angelou’s “I am Human.” D’Asia Smith, seventh grade student, performed spoken word to “Hey Black Child.”
Near the end of the ceremony, Principal Greg Dirks acknowledged the talent and the achievements of the students. He encouraged everybody to applaud the efforts of the young participants and encouraged the students to make strides in life.
“Make a condition better than where you are now and keep moving forward,” Dirks said.
Many students and school leaders made the event a success. Like Dirks, Coordinator Angela Harding acknowledge the work of the students and everyone involved.
“They made me proud again this year,” Harding said. “I’m very thankful that we have dedicated students here at Sampson Middle School.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.