Black History Month Celebrated with Decorated Doors
Ephesus Elementary School (EES) and East Chapel Hill High School (ECHHS) have been decorating their doors as a vivid and informative celebration of Black History Month. The school-wide projects spotlight contributions from famous African Americans through creative and varied “door art.”
The theme for Black History Month at EES has been music, with a focus on the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” To wander the halls of the school is to learn a great deal about the rich abundance of musical styles, artists and instruments, from the bluegrass performed by Rhiannon Giddens and the Carolina Chocolate Drops to the masters of jazz and Motown.
Third Grade Teacher, Kara O’Dor, said, “Grade levels were assigned a genre of music and learned about their genres and notable Black artists working in those genres through read alouds, research, and listening to curated playlists in their classrooms.” All teachers and staff had access to the playlists, and they were invited to use the resources across the disciplines to emphasize the breadth and power of African American music.
“Classes were free to create within their genres,” said O’Dor. “This is why you see doors about individual artists, genres as a whole, or specific instruments (as in the doors comparing the akonting and the banjo). All doors involved student-created components, with many being entirely designed and created by students based on what they learned about their genre. Even some specialists and interventionists participated, doing research with students and creating their own door decorations.”
ECHHS Science Teacher, Rebecca Adcock, said, “East Chapel Hill sponsored its first annual Black History Month Door Decorating Contest this year. The goal was to get students and teachers working on creative and inspiring showcases of Black History during their celebration of Black History Month. There were 28 door entries and lots of hard work and creativity put into each design. Winners for the contest will be announced February 28th with first prize winning a unique piece of art from a local African American Artist in the area and a pizza party for their class.”
Biology Teacher and AVID Coordinator, Kimberly Manning, said, “ My AVID seniors wanted to participate and came up with the theme that ‘Black History is American History.’ It was important to them to emphasize that Black History is American History and cannot be separated from the whole as a side note in this country. They wanted to tell a story of how out of slavery, Black people survived and excelled despite the barriers that the law, institutionalized racism, and social injustices created to mar their lives. The door features slaves and their voyage through the Middle Passage. The African Queen is wearing her people around her neck as they lie in the innards of a slave ship.”
Manning said, “Next, the accomplishments of notable people and their contributions to American History are featured. Maya Angelou's poem, ‘Still I Rise,’ is a part of the theme. The students lifted the line, ‘I am the hope and dream of the slave’ to highlight that despite all the trials and tribulations Blacks faced in this country, they still can be successful. Francis Scott Key's ‘National Anthem’ sets the stage for why Blacks like Colin Kaepernick choose to kneel today, and James Weldon Johnson's ‘Negro National Anthem’ explains why we stand. The door also features the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which gives Black people freedom. Black History is American History!”