On Thursday, Feb. 7, SSFS Middle and Upper School students gathered in the PAC for the 2019 Black History Month assembly, “Highlight, Educate, Celebrate: Black Excellence.” The SSFS Lower School gathered later that afternoon for "The Underground Railroad: Not a Subway" presented by Schroeder Cherry.
During the Middle and Upper School assembly, our Middle and Upper School Black Affinity Groups—who hosted the assembly—sought to raise awareness about those who did not receive recognition during their lifetimes, as well as highlight the original works of SSFS students and faculty.
The assembly featured a variety of performances including:
- readings of published poetry from Langston Hughes and Nikki Giovanni;
- music and biographies of several black artists and musicians whose work was co-opted by others, including Willie Mae Thornton, Bob Marley, and Gloria Jones; and
- dance, poetry, spoken word, and rap created by SSFS students and faculty.
The assembly ended with a reflection on the lyrics from “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” written by James Weldon Johnson and put to music by his musician brother, John Rosamond Johnson. Before the song played, students provided some historical context about the song and how it become known as the “black national anthem.” More photos from the assembly are available online or on Vidigami here. (please log in to the website before clicking the link).
For the Lower School assembly, students in grades K-5 gathered in Clifton to see "Underground Railroad, Not a Subway," performed by Schroeder Cherry. Through the use of puppets, storytelling, and song, the performance shared information about how slaves used the Underground Railroad to escape north to freedom. The program was part of the Young Audiences Arts for Learning network. Students in grades PK3 and PK4 will participate in an activity designed for them later this month.