The students of Christensen Academy, the on-site education facility launched by Detroit personal injury lawyers Christensen Law, presented their research on important figures in black American history this past month.
Led by the Academy’s educator, Mrs. Marsha Carreker, the intent of the segment was for students to gain a better understanding of the evolution of people of color in our country and the significant contributions they’ve made. The students chose a subject and set about researching them in detail – their socio-economic positions, their backgrounds and education, and their accomplishments as well as their trials.
In an academic confluence of history, art, and drama, they submitted their findings in colorful reports with supporting documents and creative flair (see Kamryn’s original poem below), and then created their own interpretation of each figure, complete with costuming and props. On presentation day, they delivered their research to their parents, CLAW employees, and their peers, to thunderous applause.
For some, this was their first experience with public speaking, and while the audience was select and socially distanced, they did present in front of esteemed dignitaries including attorney Charlotte E. Ray and the Obamas (wink wink).
The school’s focus on historical figures also brought about lively conversation and opportunities to share and broaden perspectives amongst the Christensen Law employees, who posted and commented on links to educational resources and topics concurrent with the ideology and goals of Black History Month, African American culture, and societal issues. (See our list of resources below.)
“The students did an amazing job,” said legal assistant Courtney Hedler, who was on hand to capture the presentations on video. “They were articulate and passionate about the people they were portraying.” View the video here: Christensen Academy Black History Month
In a surprise appearance, the first black female attorney in the US, Charlotte E. Ray, appeared to speak about women’s rights in the 19th century. Boldly enacted by receptionist Ericka Matthews, Ms. Ray drew attention to the vast differences experienced by women then and now.
See more photos from the day below.
RESOURCES – FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- Mahogany Books “MahoganyBooks was founded in 2007 to meet the literary needs of readers nationwide in search of books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.” – https://www.mahoganybooks.com/about-us/
- Activities from the National Museum of African American History and Culture – https://nmaahc.si.edu/events/ongoing-tours-and-activities
- Another great contributor and leader in the civil rights, women’s rights, and voting rights movements. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/10/06/civil-rights-crusader-fannie-lou-hamer-defied-men-and-presidents-who-tried-to-silence-her/
- Where to donate to support BLM: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-for-black-lives-matter.html
- What is BHM is and how to celebrate: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/02/01/black-history-month-2021-how-celebrate-what-know/4292640001/?fbclid=IwAR0h9uPUaRDSGb_yHtXr5WO2yZtQJ23iSwSl01EFWr1cFwL1dntmFkZumVA
- BlackPast (referenced in the USA Today article) “This 6,000 page reference center is dedicated to providing information to the general public on African American history and the history of more than one billion people of African ancestry around the world.” – https://www.blackpast.org/
- Brief from President Biden on BHM: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/02/03/proclamation-on-national-black-history-month-2021/