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Endeavor fourth-graders create museum for influential African-Americans

HARVEST — For Black History Month, fourth-graders at Endeavor Elementary School are presenting a ‘museum’ for historical and contemporary African-Americans who influenced lifestyles and developed inventions.

Endeavor students examine of the museum displays for Black History Month. (CONTRIBUTED)

Fourth-grade teacher Pamela Henson organized the Black History Month celebration. This event has helped students and the school community to better understand and accept diversity of races, ethnicities and cultures within the classroom, campus, community and country, she said.

Endeavor’s minority population is less than 20 percent, Henson said. “The ultimate goal is to allow students to experience history rather than simply reading about it.”

For one month, students researched influential African-Americans who lived in the time of slavery to today. To document their findings, students used photographs, biographical summaries and three-dimensional artifacts on posters. They also interviewed African-American educators on Endeavor’s staff and Geraldine Tibbs, public relations director for Madison County Schools.

Henson developed a “museum” decorated in a red-white-and-blue theme to display students’ work. Fourth-graders’ posters show African-American inventors, scientists, leaders, educators and masters of the arts — poetry, dance, painting and music.

In addition, the museum features African-American Alabamians, Endeavor teachers and books and replicas of inventions used every day. Notable inventions include Thomas Stewart’s clamping mop from 1893, John Lee Love’s portable pencil sharpener from 1897 and Lonnie Johnson’s Super Soaker from 1988.

An exhibit for George Washington Carver has more than 100 of his designs developed from peanuts in the 1920s, including ketchup, peanut butter and mayonnaise. “A special display by Carol Heinse includes a handmade quilt with individual squares retelling important events in black history,” Henson said. Heinse’s fourth-grade class created the quilt in 1995.

Fourth-grade parent volunteers Deborah Stuessy and Beth Trees helped stage the museum. The museum will be open throughout February.

Henson acknowledged Endeavor parents and the community for uniting to promote the fourth-graders’ history exploration. “The Endeavor students experienced history, created their own piece of history, grew in leadership and shared their learning within the school community,” Henson said.

Endeavor fourth-graders will present “Celebration of History!” on Feb. 7 at 8:30 a.m.

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