CHICAGO (SCS) — From the classroom to a canvas on school hallway walls, some Chicago teachers and students are taking black history to new places.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reports, what started as a small idea has only grown and grown in popularity.
A section of the hallway at Stagg Elementary School in Englewood can be called a visual feast, feeding students’ intellectual appetites and sparking a thirst for additional knowledge in the third drader Divine Afeni.
“I’ve seen my skin color for generations,” she said. “That makes me happy.”
His goal is to become a lawyer one day. She knows it’s possible because her ancestors did it. And she sees it every day in these murals titled “The Black Chicago Museum.”
“It had a lot of impact,” said teacher LaNaye Lawson.
Lawson asked students and artists to illustrate a five-segment timeline. Starting in the 1700s, they show the story of John Baptist Point DuSable, who is considered the town’s first settler and trader.
Other black-focused narratives through painted images take viewers on a decades-long journey, from the migration of Southerners to Chicago to the race riots to the Civil War and Reconstruction era.
“It really dives deep into black history, especially in Chicago,” Lawson said.
Lawson said it’s a rare vantage point to find in the city. Now more people are coming to see the exhibition open to the public, which was made in 2017, and the one that was just completed at the Carter School of Excellence.
Last year’s declaration of Juneteenth — a day many black people see as the true end of slavery — as a federal holiday has only sparked more interest in this generation-shaping Chicago story. coming.
“I see everything that people have done and how they have done it for themselves and that inspires me,” said Chloe Jones, a fifth-grader.
“When they know where they come from and know the power they have within them, they can accomplish anything,” Lawson said.
The goal is to inspire even more kids and bring this to other Chicago public schools. There’s also hope to get the mural in one space, a building called “The Black Chicago Museum.”
The murals are done through donations, and in one case the school principal paid for it.
Find more information about the murals and how to visit them yourself here.