A stroll through history
by The Press and Standard | March 14, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: March 13, 2019 at 9:12 am
Just inside the doors of the Hendersonville Elementary School cafeteria three studious young ladies stood around a table.
Dressed in period clothing from the early 1960s, they had pencils and paper in hand.
Noelle Cobbs portraying Katherine Johnson, Zarianna Gethers as Dorothy Vaughan and Prisayus Felder as Mary Jackson represented the start of a journey in two ways.
They represented the first stop on a journey through African-American history conducted at the school’s Living History Museum on March 8.
Historically Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson’s roles in the development of the National Aviation and Space Administration, their work behind the scenes as mathematicians, were crucial to America’s winning the space race and largely been unrecognized until the recent movie “Hidden Figures” told their story.
As the students made their way through the cafeteria, they came face-to-face with historical figures and famous faces.
Students portraying those saluted in the Living Museum were: Heaven and Neveah Sanders as Venus and Serena Williams; Keno Nixon as Robert Smalls; Quavion Nimmons as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Lillian Owens as Rosa Parks; Andrew Clark as Abraham Lincoln;
Sarah Cobbs as Oprah Winfrey; Jaden Hudson as Muhammed Ali; Armonti Williams as Ronald McNair; Kashawn Barnett as Steve Harvey; Hakeim Huggins as Duke Ellington; Deshaad Fishburne as Thurgood Marshall
James Foster as Bakari Sellers; Galil Frazier as President Barack Obama; Korlaja Holmes as First Lady Michelle Obama; Marlena Evans as Condaleeza Rice; Aubrey Mosely as Maude Callen; Braeden Hiers as Vice President Joe Biden and Kamiyah Williams as Harriet Tubman.
Aleecia Gadson, a teacher assistant at the school and a member of the committee that organized the Living Museum, watched from near the cafeteria’s doorway as the other students made their way through the museum.
Those participating in the museum came from every grade level.
The committee, she explained, worked to “match the children to the personality they represented.” They were chosen based “on their style and grade, how they carried themselves.
“Every participant said yes from the beginning,” Gadson added. The students were asked to learn about the person they would be portraying.
“We had about two weeks to put it together,” Gadson said. “There was a lot of parental participation, which was great. It turned out well.”
Hendersonville Elementary School Principal Marcella Glover said, “This was an event that I had done previously at the middle school a number of years ago and I wanted bring it here to Hendersonville.
“The kids were excited about it when we first asked them about participating. They all said yes. Every parent said yes.”
The staff members placed on the black history committee “talked and discussed people we wanted to portray,” Glover said. “They tried to get some folks that aren’t normally portrayed or given a tribute.”
People like the Maude Callen, a nurse who spent six decades providing medical care to Berkeley County’s poorest residents.
They also sought to include Lowcountry historical figures, she added, like Robert Smalls.
“We would like to make it a regular event,” Glover said.