Striplin students put black history on display


By Donna Thornton/News Editor

A group of students at W.E. Striplin Elementary School brought figures from black history to life during February in the school’s Black History Wax Museum.

About 40 students participated – 32 portraying historical figures with others acting as museum ushers and tour guides.

Striplin principal Delsia Easley said she scouted out students she thought might be good choices to portray various figures well before time for the museum to open.

Students did their own research to find out about the people they would portray and their contributions to history.

The people represented in the museum encompass a variety of experience. From President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to winter Olympian Debbie Thomas and Dr. Ray Thompson (who Thompson Elementary School was named for), achievements of all kind were celebrated.

Visitors to the museum were greeted at the door by an usher who guided them to the gym where they were invited to sign in and received a program listing the figures portrayed and the students who portrayed them.

A tour guide shepherded visitors to each figure, locating a “button” on each figure. When the guide touched the button, the “wax” figure shared a brief biography of the figure he or she represented, while other figures waited their turn to share their story.

Striplin has had the wax museum for a few years now. Easley said they will do something else for Black History Month next year. School leaders plan to have the wax museum again in 2016.

Easley said the museum had more than 200 visitors during the afternoons that it was open. The first staging of the museum was during a school board meeting conducted at Striplin school. She said there were 75 visitors that evening alone.

In addition to the time and effort students put into the program, Easley said the school gets amazing support from parents and the community in making costumes and supplies for the project.

In addition to the staff and faculty at W.E. Striplin, Easley said Harriet Murray, Coach Zack Glaze, Amy Zapata, Sweet Home United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Gadsden offered their support and assistance with the museum.

Students who participated in the wax museum were: 

Ushers: Tamiayh Blount, Kaylen Barnard, Ruben Gaspar, Ana Mendoza, Jalen Barnard, Alecya Posey, Barron Byers, and Amiya Pitts.

Students and the historical figures they portrayed were:

Monique Curry – Vivian Malone

Trinity Price – Debbie Thomas

Damia Steward – Dr. Mae Jemison

Thomas Butler – Justice Thurgood Marshall

Te’Shade Higgins – Hank Aaron

Justin McCarter – Dr. Martin Luther King

Jakahzeah Fleming – Madame C.J. Walker

Raileigh Hampton – Lena Horne

Deborah Skaya – Gladys Knight

Quiyana Rivera – Carol Mosley Braun

Kimori White – Paul Dunbar

Emma Margai – Condoleeza Rice

Janiah Griffin – Maggie Lena Walker

Jordyn Edwards – Dorothy Gilliam

Jaquan Ivey – Dr. James Hood

Ivyon Westbrook – Joe Louis

Quintyn Turner – President Abraham Lincoln

Jadon Martin – Dr. Ray Thompson

Jahra Waker – Vonetta Flowers

Jada Odom – Rosa Parks

Ethan Foster – Nelson Mandela

Cordell Worthy – President Barack Obama

Joseph Buchanan – Arthur Ashe

Demeron Rowell – Dr. Charles Drew

Jarod Taylor – Dr. George Washington Carver

Ryan Laney – President John F. Kennedy

Chanddies Harvey – Jupiter Hammon

Nevaeh Covington – Bessie Coleman

Joland Boldware – Michelle Obama

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