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  • Writer's pictureDylan Edwards

Helping Spread History’s Influence--Eagles Make Donation to Booker T. Washington Monument

Students in the African American History class come together to show off their silhouettes. (Photo by Dylan Edwards)

By Dylan Edwards--Eagle Staff Writer

Donations are a must for most memorials and museums, and the Booker T. Washington National Monument is no exception. These donations are usually monetary, but students and teachers here have carved a new path by making silhouettes for the monument.

The project was inspired by lessons taught in Michelle Jones' African American History class.

"We had a unit on Booker T.’s young life [and afterward began brainstorming how we could help at the monument]," Junior Jakaylyn Gill explained.

“In August we were presented with the idea to make the silhouettes, but [were] only able to work on it since October,“ reported Jones.

The silhouettes depict enslaved people in various poses - seated, standing, working - and will be inscribed with quotations from Washington's own autobiography and other primary sources.

The purpose is to connect visitors with the voices and daily experiences of those who lived and worked on the Burroughs' plantation - something that's hard to do without significant numbers of staff or expensive displays. The silhouettes are an inexpensive solution.

It's been a group effort. “Charles White (History Teacher) was the one who cut out the silhouettes after the students had made outlines and cut them out on paper," Jones explained.

Students have been involved at every step of the project. “Some helped draw, [while 3 others painted]. It’s taken 3 weeks to accomplish, and it’s been just us in the classes working on them," explained freshman Natasha Melvin.

"I chose to [help out] after school. I didn’t have anything else to do, plus, I wanted to see how the painting came out before anyone else," said Gill.

On Nov. 19 Jones and her students visited the monument to plan where the silhouettes would go. Students will soon have the chance to see their own handiwork displayed beside historical buildings and artifacts, which seems to have given these Eagles a greater sense of pride knowing they're doing their part to help improve the community.

“I like that I’m going to be able to say that I was a part of this project because I had a lot of fun,” Senior Kaylee Hall shared.

Those interested in visiting the Booker T. Washington monument should visit their website or use their phone number on the site for more information, but be aware they will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

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