A Black History Month program at Linden High School on Feb. 23 used music, dance, fashion and guest speakers to highlight lesser-known African-Americans. It was one of many programs this month throughout Linden Public Schools. 

Here are some of the other events and lessons around the district:

Linden High School

The Media Center showed movies every Thursday after school that centered on African-American history, including “The Help” (below); “Hidden Figures”; “Race,” the story of Olympic hero Jesse Owens; and “The Butler.”

The Help movie

Linden High School students watching "The Help" in the school's media center.

McManus Middle School

Students in language arts and social studies classes presented speeches written in first person point of view inspired by a civil rights or women’s rights activist. Teachers Rosa Espinal-Perez and Candice Markese created a series of lessons to analyze speech content, civil rights historical events, speech writing format, and presentation skills. All students were responsible for researching their assigned activists to better understand how their time period influenced their activism and how these activists persuaded others to take action for civil rights.

Soehl Middle School

Students of French chose a prominent French-speaking person of African descent and created computer presentations or posters about that person. The projects included name and background, physical and personality descriptions, and photos.

Informational text readings in Jill Famula’s language arts classes focused on African-American inventors and singers. These students wrote argumentative essays choosing and defending their choice of the most beneficial invention by an African-American inventor.

Students in Renata Marchesi’s language arts classes researched and wrote about prominent figures from the Harlem Renaissance period. Students tied in the music and culture of that time period, and made a technology-based presentation on their research.

School No. 2

laser show of guitar player

Laser image of a guitar player while "Johnny B. Goode" played at School No. 2 at Feb. 13's laser show.

Students were wowed by a laser light show on Feb. 13. The program, presented by Prismatic Magic laser shows, opened with a walk back through recent history to highlight figures including Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks. Another segment featured Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and the Tuskegee Airmen.

Music was a big part of the show, with the lasers dancing to the tunes of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher.”

Students also got a quick science lesson on how lasers work, and how they differ from normal light.

Students’ submissions to the city’s Black History Month poster and essay contest were compiled into an iMovie showcasing their work and allowing them to share what it would mean to them if they won the award.

The school hosted a “Take a Journey Through Black History” museum walk on Feb. 21 and 22.

School No. 2 students

"Journey Through Black History" at School No. 2.

The Black History Month Committee hosted a “Southern Style Lunch” for faculty and staff on Feb. 28.

School No. 4

The school held a Martin Luther King Jr. presentation in January in which students, parents, and the community came together to celebrate. Selected classes, from each grade, presented different poems, songs, and written presentations that showed the impact that racism and segregation has had on our history. The presentation also incorporated individual views on racism and ways to make a positive change in society.

students on stage

School No. 4's Martin Luther King celebration.

Students also completed age-appropriate activities throughout February, from kindergarten teachers reading the books “The Crayon Box That Talked,” “Shades of Black,” and “Peter’s Chair” to fifth-graders discussing the impact of Ruby Bridges, the first African-American student to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960.

child and councilwoman with large check for $25

School No. 4 student Mijyon Floyd won the City of Linden's Black History Month essay contest. Here he is being presented with his prize check from Councilwoman Rhashonna Cosby on Feb. 15.

School No. 5

School No. 5 hosted a Black History Month celebration on Feb. 21 that featured inspirational songs, poems and speeches from students and staff, as well as artwork hung around the gym from every student in the school. Second-grader Lenz Jean-Paul read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and the school’s chorus sang the “Black National Anthem.” The night was arranged by second-grade teacher Jacqueline Caughman and the school’s Black History Month Committee.

students on stage

Students at School No. 5 spell out "Inspire" while discussing inspirational African-American figures at the school's Black History Month celebration.

School No. 6

The school-wide theme is African-American women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Students researched, celebrated and recognized doctors, astronauts, video game designers, neurosurgeons and more. The celebration was capped off by a school-wide gallery walk on Feb. 23.

School No. 8

children in hallway of School 8

Children at School No. 8 telling their fellow students about Jackie Robinson during the school's Hall of Fame walk on Feb. 28.

Students created a Hall of Fame to honor influential African-Americans. Classes paired off to research and create group presentations about one person in the areas of science, arts, civil rights, and sports, among others. Students made creative presentations using technology, demonstrations, music, and posters to share with other classes during a Hall of Fame walk Feb. 26-28.

School No. 9

Each grade level put on a skit at a school-wide assembly on Feb. 23.