All eyes were transfixed on the screen as scenes of police brutality and vicious attack dogs held the students’ attention in James Hunt’s history class. For Black History Month, the fifth- to eighth-grade classroom at Montgomery Adventist Elementary, Montgomery, Ala., watched various documentaries about the Civil Rights Movement.
The video played that day was about the young people of the Movement and how they were ready to face jail and even death for what they believed in. The students sat in silence as if they understood that if not for being born during this time period, it very well could have been one of them carried off to jail or hosed down because of the color of their skin.
For sixth-grader Seth Bordlee, his mother taught him early on not to judge a book by its cover. “My mom taught me not to treat black people any differently … I can see anyone that had to go through that deserves a lot of respect.” Khadra Burden, sixth grader, understands her responsibility to the Movement. “Our teacher said it only takes one generation. We can make this the generation that ends racism.” Both students said without hesitation that if they had lived back in the Movement era, they would have protested and gone to jail with the other young people involved in the demonstrations.
During Black History Month, the students did not want to forget their responsibility along with today’s youth, to stand against bigotry, racism, and ignorance in whatever form they find it. They want to be the generation that ends racism.
Gulf States | March 2017