History in the Making

Basie Beacon M.S. 72 Celebrates Black History Month

“History in the Making: The Soul of the Youth” lit up the stage at The Child Center of NY’s Beacon program at Catherine & Count Basie Middle School 72 on Friday, February 3, kicking off Black History Month with a diverse array of performances and readings by students of all ages. Jaylin, who served as the student emcee for the evening, announced quietly before making his way to the front to introduce the first act:  “I’m scared.”  But the middle-schooler seemed far from frightened as the evening went on, offering casual and astute commentary after each performance. When he later played a leading role in a skit pitting students against a teacher whose methods they disagreed with, he had the audience’s full attention.  “Why wouldn’t you want us to know?” said Jaylin, angrily, to a bewildered (acting) instructor, referring to achievements in black history. “Why are you focused on our negative past, not on our bright future?”

To remember and highlight the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history, students delivered poems and quotes, acted out student-created scenes, and interpreted historical periods via dance. Several Child Center staff, all sporting commemorative Basie Beacon T-shirts, were on hand to assist with the schedule and help the children perform to their best abilities. Sections like “Middle Passage,” “Slavery,” “Civil Rights,” and “The White House” yielded a veritable variety show of interpretations, with one-act mini plays, dances, fashion shows, quotes, and more.

As Child Center Coordinator of the Beacon Afterschool Program, Barry Barclift, said, “By reliving and remembering history at this important event for the students and their families, we create awareness of the struggles and challenges that African Americans overcame in this country.”

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