Black History Month is winding down Nation wide, but at Maury, the impact and spirit of many fine, inventive, creative, and heroic African-Americans will endure beyond the month of February. Maury’s inaugural Journey Through Time event proved a huge success. Students were engaged, enthused, and immersed in authentic, hands on learning all journey long. At the art station, students painted in the style of Alma Thomas, a life long learner and DC superstar. Alma Thomas gave us some of the most unique artistic interpretations of nature through her expressionist works. Her paintings of DC flora and fauna hang in the halls of the White House thanks to Michelle Obama’s artistic influence, the Hirshhorn, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Beyond being a phenomenal woman and artist, Alma did not let race or age deter her from following her dreams. She was the first person to graduate from Howard University’s Fine Arts Program and the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City at the age of 80! Alma, you go girl!
Here, Autumn Leaves Fluttering in the Breeze was reborn in the able hands of our 3 year olds. Our younger artists were particularly apt at recreating Alma’s layered, dot-like application of the paint.
Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Battle, the chair of our Black History Month Committee, shares a moment with a former student and current 4th grader. It was so exciting to witness students and staff sharing knowledge and interacting with one another in such a meaningful new way. I was particularly pleased to see teachers and staff members taking the time to add their creative marks on our school-wide art pieces.
All in all, the entire Maury community worked together to create 12 panels of Alma Thomas inspired work at our Journey Through Time celebration! Bid on many of these pieces at this year’s Maury at the Market event and help raise money for our wonderful school!
Check out our other talented teachers at their amazing stations on our Journey Through Time below!
Ms. Johnson evokes Madam C. J. Walker, a female entrepreneur who built her empire developing hair products for black women. Madam C.J. Walker was considered to be the wealthiest African-American woman in America and known to be the first African-American woman millionaire. Some sources even cite her as the first self-made American woman millionaire!
Watch out Wally Amos! Ms. Stover and Ms. Vick are some smart cookies! These ladies know how to satisfy a crowd. With cookies! Wally Amos worked as a talent agent with a very persuasive strategy. He would send home-baked chocolate chip cookies to celebrities to entice them to meet with him and help sign a deal. Students learned about his famous recipe, integrated math and art, and got a taste of the goods as well. It was torture for me all day being set up next to the chocolaty station!
Mr. Rogers rocked it out with an array of booming percussion instruments. He also reminded us of the way many jazz musicians and African Americans use music to celebrate or honor the dead. Students mimicked the lively spirit of the second line in one of many iconic New Orleans style jazz funeral processions. It was hard to compete with the beat stomping good time these young musicians were kicking up from across the multipurpose room. Ms. Battle and Ms. Cooper brought us home with a powerful retelling of Show Way Quilt history. “Show Ways”, or quilts, once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves. These teachers relived the passion and bravery needed by all slaves in order to persevere, unite, and develop creative and resourceful ways of ensuring a better life for themselves and their families.