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Black history is focus of John Small program

By Staff
Students celebrate dreams, accomplishments
By KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER, Staff Writer
Famous blacks from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Oprah Winfrey were celebrated during a Black History Month program held Friday morning at John Small School in Washington.
Poetry recitations, singing, storytelling and dancing filled the program, which the students have come to anticipate every year.
The students didn’t begin practicing for the program until last week. But they rose to the occasion, she said.
Students from eight different classrooms participated in the program, she said.
The students led with the “Black National Anthem” and “Star Spangled Banner” along with an explanation of the meaning behind an African-American flag.
The audience appeared spellbound as Hazel Moore, a mentor at the school, sang a rendition of “I’m Free.” Her performance received an enthusiastic round of applause.
The contributions of black inventors were recognized during a presentation that touted their places in history. Those inventors included Garrett Morgan (the traffic light), John Love (the pencil sharpener), Sarah Boone (the ironing board), William Purvis (the fountain pen) and Madam C.J. Walker, who created hair products especially for blacks. Also included was Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the first open heart surgery.
To balance the program, some more recent accomplishments were also celebrated. Those included the music career of the late James Brown and that of award-winning actor and recording artist Will Smith.
The poetry of Maya Angelou figured prominently in the program, with her work being used as the focus of several presentations.
Corshema Blount, a fifth-grader at John Small, is a fan of Angelou’s poetry.
Taijae Latham, another fifth-grader, enjoyed that musical number as well, but what she learned during preparations for the program might have even more of a lasting impact on her life.