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AAA students honor Black History

A group of Greenville Middle School students recently gave a group of special visitors a preview performance of their Black History Month presentation.

Beverly Johnson, Unre Jiminez, Makiya Mahan, Ajia Shoemaker and Aniya Carter shared five of the most influential African-American leaders both past and present with their self-contained AAA class members. The class was joined by family members, GMS and BCSS faculty and staff, Superintendent Dr. John Strycker and Mayor Dexter McLendon.

Jacqueline Hamilton worked with the students to choose their favorite heros and heroines for “Who Am I?” Johnson shared Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights pioneer who helped lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Jimenez shared Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Montgomery pastor who promoted non-violence as a prominent leader of the Civil Rights movement; Mahan shared Harriet Tubman, the woman who organized the Underground Railroad to help slaves to freedom in the 19th century; Shoemaker shared Maya Angelou, the multitalented dancer, singer, author and poet laureate, while Carter shared producer, entrepreneur, actress and talk show host, Oprah Winfrey.

Hamilton herself spoke of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

“It started out as just another political speech . . . the singer Mahalia Jackson was beside him, and she said, ‘Martin, why don’t you talk about your dream?’ And that’s what he did.” Hamilton went on to recite King’s inspiring words for the students and guests.

The program closed with the five students gathering to sing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” as images from the song’s video appearing on the screen behind them.

The five students will share their presentation with the entire student body in Thursday’s Black History Program at GMS — a first for the class.

“I am so very proud of my students. They worked really hard and were so excited to be part of this event,” Hamilton said.

“I felt it was important because they can be so hard on themselves — and I wanted them to know they can do most anything they put their minds, too.  And this is just the beginning, definitely not the end of our participation in these types of school events. We are looking forward to sharing our presentation with the all the middle school students.”