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Students Research Influential Leaders

Richland Student (Richland Elementary School, February 2021) During Black History Month, students at Richland Elementary School are learning more about influential Black Americans.

In second-grade teacher Stephanie Jewart’s classroom, the students learned about how Ruby Bridges, at the age of six, advanced the cause of civil rights.

Students are writing letters to Ruby thanking her for her bravery. Ruby became the first Black student to attend a segregated elementary school in New Orleans. Ruby and her mother were escorted by federal marshals to her school every day. While many families supported the little girl’s bravery, there were many who screamed at her as she walked to class every day. A year later a federal court ordered the school to desegregate. Ruby was a lifelong activity for racial equality and established the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and create change through education. She was made an honorary deputy marsh during a ceremony hosted in Washington, D.C.*

Students also learned about other leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. 

In second-grade teacher Kaitlin Kmec’s classroom, students are working on research projects for Black History Month and will continue this project into March. The students are researching influential Black leaders. Ms. Kmec is teaching the students a lesson regarding character traits so they can use the concept for their influential leader. The students will be writing reports and designing an actual cereal box to honor their leader.