Celebrating Black History Month

February was filled with opportunities for students to build community, learn and celebrate Black History Month.
In the heart of campus, Burke’s librarians selected a collection of picture and chapter books about key figures and events in the civil rights movement. These books included: 
  • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • Turning 15 On the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery
  • We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson
  • What Do You Do With a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton
  • Women in the Civil Rights Movement by Kesha Grant
The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging put up a bulletin board of notable Black women, including Jasmine Crockett, Dr. Uché Blackstock, Joy Buolamwini, Angela Davis and Zendaya. 
In Lower School Music, students learned about spirituals, gospels, freedom songs, protest songs and songs to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, they sang and danced to the protest song “Get Up Stand Up,” by Bob Marley, otherwise known as the father of ska and reggae music. The song included alternate verses for children written by Cedella Marley, Bob’s sister. 
Kindergarten also sang a Gospel-style call and response song, “Sing About Martin,” and learned the sign language to go with each line. Meanwhile, first graders began a study of rhythm with the spiritual song “This Train is Bound for Glory.” They will continue to learn about jazz and scat singing with the song “Tisket, Tisket,” made famous by Ella Fitzgerald. 
At the Lower School Assembly, students sang along to “What Can One Little Person Do?” with additional verses written by past Burke’s students. Lower School Science teacher Elizabeth McDonald helped fourth graders share about a few Black scientists from a collection of “Scientist of the Day” profiles. 
In art, second graders had a chance to learn about Black figures throughout history, from scientists to artists. Among these figures is Chakaia Booker, a Black abstract sculptor known for creating monumental abstract works from recycled tires and stainless steel for both galleries and public parks. Taking inspiration from her, second graders are making their own abstract sculptures! 
Meanwhile, Upper School students examined with a deeper lens how art is used as a tool for social justice or resistance, and identity. The Black Heritage Student Affinity Group gave a personal presentation about the significance of Black Hair to their identities. Additionally, Youth Voice led presentations and activities on Black History Month and introduced two essential questions to keep in mind:  

  • How do you think sharing stories of Black history can encourage others to learn and appreciate this important part of history?
  • How do you think we can make Black history more visible and valued in our community? 
Based on these guiding questions, Upper School engaged in activities like creating a small exhibit of album covers by Black musicians (John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross & The Supremes, and more). Students filled out cards, writing about the emotions they felt when listening to their music. 
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.
Burke's admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.