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School celebrates Black History Month with living wax museum

February 27, 2018

Teacher Stacey Noone listens to second grader Amir As-Salafee as he portrays Elijah Muhammad during a living wax museum at Samuel Smith Elementary School in Burlington City, N.J., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. The students at Samuel Smith Elementary School dressed up as famous African-Americans in honor of black history month. (Carl Kosola/Burlington County Times via AP)

BURLINGTON CITY, N.J. (AP) — Miniature versions of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, LeBron James and Diana Ross were all together inside the gymnasium at the Samuel Smith School on Thursday.

The second-graders took on the roles of well-known African-Americans as part of the school’s living wax museum in honor of Black History Month.

Some of the figures were from the beginning of American history, such as Colonist Crispus Attucks, portrayed by Joseph Vargas, 7.

“I was the first of five killed in the Boston Massacre in 1770,” said Joseph, as Attucks.

The Boston Massacre was one of the events that sparked the American Revolution. Historians aren’t sure whether Attucks was an escaped slave or a freeman, but he became an icon of the abolitionist movement for his role in the country’s history.

Braylen Brown, 7, portrayed Marcus Garvey, the leader of a mass movement called Pan-Africanism, which aimed to strengthen the bonds of people from African descent.

“I will be remembered as a great leader,” Braylen said, as Garvey.

He also said he learned a few interesting facts about Garvey, who was born in 1887 and died in June 1940.

“He had two wives, and they had the same name,” Braylen said with a smile.

Other figures, such as former first lady Michelle Obama, played by Angelique Jimenez, 7, were more recent.

Angelique said she learned about Obama’s desire to assist children.

″(The Obamas) were helping kids,” she said.

Parents such as Bill Durant said they hope the students learn more about African-American history by taking on the roles of famous figures. Durant’s son portrayed King.

“I always want my son to think about the past,” he said, “because a lot of people, especially young people these days, they think about the present. It’s important for kids to remember where they came from and the history of the way things used to be.”

Besides learning about history, the students also had the chance to dress up as some of their favorite people, such as Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/2CgfM5C

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Information from: Burlington County Times (Willingboro, N.J.), http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com

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