Sunday, May 26, 2013

History As An Obligation

African History Class at the Sankofa Homeschool Collection Co-op

History was my favorite subject in junior and senior high.  I went on to minor in history in college.  My children, on the other hand, don’t hate history, I just don’t think they necessarily love it.  But participating in African History Class since 2012 and being a part of 5 plays has given them a deeper understanding and appreciation of why knowing their history is important.  I am grateful to Obi Egbuna, Jr., their African history teacher, for his dedication and passion about not just teaching history, but making it come alive for the children.  My children are learning history for a purpose, not just to memorize facts.  They are learning that it is their cultural obligation to study those who came before them so that they can continue their work.  In addition to taking African history through our homeschool co-op, my children also participate in the Community African History class.  The Community History class was so successful that it gave birth to Mass Emphasis, a Children's History  Theatre Company, and so the journey began.  In the most recent production, KingMan, along with several of his peers, helped with researching and writing the play.

Lionheart is only 7 years old, but has 5 productions under his belt.  When we first started attending African History class he couldn't sit still, but now he is fully vested and looks forward to class.

KingMan portrayed Kwame Nkrumah.  Now the concept of Nkrumah as the first President of Ghana, which happens to also be the first country in Africa to gain it's independence from colonial oppressors, is a fact he'll never forget.  When the boys learned about Thomas Sankara, what stood out most for them is that Sankara encouraged the people of Burkino Faso to build their own schools, brick by brick.

KingMan as Dr. Cosme, a Cuban doctor.
In the play War in the Classroom, Kingman learned about African education pioneers who have been on frontlines.  The names Anna Cooper, Frances Ellen Harper, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Charles Hamilton Houston, Walter Rodney, and Sterling Brown are now historical figures who have come alive for my children. In the play Cuba's Greatest Army, my children learned about all of the Cuban doctors who went to Africa.

The Cast of the play Cuba's Greatest Army.

We have had a  busy play schedule.  My children are having fun, forgoing relationships with friends, learning history, and creating a legacy. 

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is LOVE IT!!!!! You and the Sankofa family have inspired me so much when it comes to making African centered history a priority for my boys. Just today, I shared with my homeschool mom/friends some of the jewels you have shared with me to add to our homeschool history curriculum.