Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
African-Americans’ many contributions to the U.S. military were represented at Lincoln by four members of the U.S. Army: Staff Sergeant Swain, Sergeant Amos, Sergeant First Class Mason and Sergeant Umar. Two are serving in the recruiting office on Stefko Boulevard. African-Americans’ many contributions to the U.S. military were represented at Lincoln by four members of the U.S. Army: Staff Sergeant Swain, Sergeant Amos, Sergeant First Class Mason and Sergeant Umar. Two are serving in the recruiting office on Stefko Boulevard.
A “living museum” of African and African-American history occupied nine classrooms in Lincoln, each devoted to a different historical period. Figures from the periods told students directly about their lives. One of the earliest known individuals, Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, was enacted by Tiffany Summersett. A “living museum” of African and African-American history occupied nine classrooms in Lincoln, each devoted to a different historical period. Figures from the periods told students directly about their lives. One of the earliest known individuals, Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, was enacted by Tiffany Summersett.
The works of W.E.B. DuBois, especially his influential “The Souls of Black Folk” published in 1903, is still widely read in American colleges and universities. Professor DuBois was the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. James Jones, a fifth-grader, gave a powerful interpretation of DuBois and his work. The works of W.E.B. DuBois, especially his influential “The Souls of Black Folk” published in 1903, is still widely read in American colleges and universities. Professor DuBois was the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. James Jones, a fifth-grader, gave a powerful interpretation of DuBois and his work.
Albert Humphrey, the grandfather of a Lincoln student, offered guests a lively impersonation of Marcus Garvey, an activist and journalist. Garvey, who lived from 1887 to 1940, had radical views on the place of Black people in western culture. Albert Humphrey, the grandfather of a Lincoln student, offered guests a lively impersonation of Marcus Garvey, an activist and journalist. Garvey, who lived from 1887 to 1940, had radical views on the place of Black people in western culture.
PRESS PHOTOS BY DENNIS GLEWHarriet Tubman, who escaped from bondage to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, spoke passionately about her efforts to rescue enslaved persons. She was represented by Demetria Culver. PRESS PHOTOS BY DENNIS GLEWHarriet Tubman, who escaped from bondage to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, spoke passionately about her efforts to rescue enslaved persons. She was represented by Demetria Culver.
The four sergeants who visited Lincoln to discuss military service by African Americans brought along a helmet. Students who stopped at their room were very happy to try it on. The four sergeants who visited Lincoln to discuss military service by African Americans brought along a helmet. Students who stopped at their room were very happy to try it on.
Ruby Bridges, played by Alanna Henderson (right), tells what it was like to enter an all-white school in New Orleans where almost no one wanted her. In a famous painting of the episode by Norman Rockwell, “The Problem We All Live With,” Ruby is shown in a white dress that Alanna’s closely resembles. Ruby Bridges, played by Alanna Henderson (right), tells what it was like to enter an all-white school in New Orleans where almost no one wanted her. In a famous painting of the episode by Norman Rockwell, “The Problem We All Live With,” Ruby is shown in a white dress that Alanna’s closely resembles.
Acriyah Thomas, a second grader, had just heard about Rosa Parks for the first time. She had a few questions for Sandra Sharp, from Delta Sigma Theta, the volunteer sorority that helped organize and staff the MLK Day events at Lincoln. Sharp, a college student at the time of the civil rights movement, was happy to answer. Acriyah Thomas, a second grader, had just heard about Rosa Parks for the first time. She had a few questions for Sandra Sharp, from Delta Sigma Theta, the volunteer sorority that helped organize and staff the MLK Day events at Lincoln. Sharp, a college student at the time of the civil rights movement, was happy to answer.
“Whites only.” “Blacks only.” To bring the past to life, Lincoln students were confronted by signs at water fountains restricting access by race. And then they simply ignored them. One adult commented, “Dr. King would be glad.” “Whites only.” “Blacks only.” To bring the past to life, Lincoln students were confronted by signs at water fountains restricting access by race. And then they simply ignored them. One adult commented, “Dr. King would be glad.”

Bringing African-American history to life at Lincoln

Monday, January 27, 2020 by Dorothy Glew Special to the Bethlehem Press in School

While the Bethlehem Area School District was closed Jan. 30, Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln ES marked the occasion with a rich and engaging program that celebrated Dr. King and informed attendees about milestones in African American history and culture. Lincoln Principal Bonita Draper explained the goal was “to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy by participating in a day of service and giving back to the community.”

The event, presented by Lincoln students, faculty, staff and community volunteers, was organized by the school’s PTO with assistance from members of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., the African American service sorority, and the Liberty HS Social Justice Club.

The program covered aspects of African American history over a period of centuries, concentrating on the 19th and 20th centuries. The roughly 50 Lincoln student attendees were divided into three groups. Each group went separately from room to room. In each room they heard brief presentations about a specific decade in African American history, which made it come alive.

In some of the rooms, enactors dressed like the people who lived during that period described an aspect of African American life at the time. For example, in one room students got a sense of the horrors of slavery and the overwhelming desire of slaves to escape. They heard from Harriet Tubman, who was terribly treated by her master but managed to escape. Once she was free, she worked to rescue other slaves. She did this by means of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses which enabled slaves to escape to free states or to Canada. Another slave, Nat Turner, spoke about a rebellion of enslaved and free black people that he led in 1831.

In another room, students learned about the difficulties of life experienced by African Americans including the struggle to attain voting rights. In 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote. In subsequent decades their right to vote was suppressed, and it wasn’t until 1965 that their right to vote was guaranteed.

On a different note, in a third room students watched a film about and listened to the music of supremely talented African American musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday (who won four Grammy Awards), Mahalia Jackson (the Queen of Gospel) and Lena Horne, who performed at the Cotton Club in Harlem and participated in the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King, among others. What was striking was the obvious pleasure these musicians experienced entertaining audiences.

History lectures can be dry and impersonal, but at Lincoln the students experienced living history presented by reenactors. This had an effect.

“You mean I couldn’t sit next to my friend?” asked one child after hearing about racial discrimination in schools in the 1950s. “And Mrs. Draper couldn’t be our principal?” The students left thinking about authors and activists who spoke directly to them, and the many contributions of African Americans to American life and culture.