IES celebrates Black History Month

Inverness Elementary School celebrated Black History Month with a combination of informational hallway decorations, lessons and activities. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Inverness Elementary School celebrated Black History Month with a combination of informational hallway decorations, lessons and activities. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—Inverness Elementary School tried something new this year for Black History Month, turning the hallway between the front staircase and the cafeteria into a mini-museum “celebrating (the accomplishments and contributions of black Americans) in music, arts, sports and literature,” Assistant Principal Jeff Norris explained.

Designed by a committee of teachers, the hall also features a “Hallway of Heroes,” with facts and biographical information about famous Alabamians, from Hank Aaron and Bo Jackson to NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher.

“Teachers have always (recognized Black History Month) in their classrooms, but this is the first school-wide focus,” Norris said. “We’re learning something too… it was a good collaboration.”

School administrators also coordinated visits from speakers and performers throughout the month. Samuel Pugh with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute discussed sit-ins, several members of the University of Montevallo’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha demonstrated step-dancing and a gospel duo sang for students.

“We planned events that target each of those four things (music, sports, art and literature),” Norris said. “We tried to make it fun and interactive.”

Teachers also incorporated Black History Month into their classroom lessons throughout February.

“We are doing a song called ‘Follow the Drinking Gourd,’” music teacher Kim Youngblood said, noting the song has roots in the Underground Railroad. “We’ve studied that.”

Norris said he plans to continue and expand the school-wide celebration and focus on black history at IES in the coming years.

“This year we wanted to start with awareness,” Norris said. “We have a very diverse school.”