Black History Morning Exes Lift Every Voice

Parker students have been dedicated to honoring Black History Month and sharing work from their classes. Culminating this effort was a pair of Black History Morning Exes that brought together the community.

In the Lower and Intermediate School Black History Morning Ex, 3-McCullom described The Great Migration, a mass movement to escape racial violence, pursue economic and educational opportunities, and obtain freedom from the oppression of Jim Crow. Students then shared their own works of art, inspired by American painter Jacob Lawrence, depicting this migration and talked about the Chicago Defender newspaper and the Green Book, among other examples. Next, JK-Howe shared some ways they have merged their study of writing with influential Black artists. Each week, these JKers would study a new letter and pair that letter with a different artist; for example, B for Beyoncé and H for Herbie Hancock.

To conclude this Morning Ex, faculty and staff members read Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations by Kelly Starling Lyons, and the audience and Upper School choral members joined them in song. The Music Department led the Heller Auditorium in singing “Lift Every Voice.”

Faculty and staff members also read Lyons’ book during the Middle and Upper School Black History Morning Ex, when those in attendance saw videos of Lower School projects. Whenever the book referred to the lyrics of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Upper School choral and band students accompanied them with a live performance.

To enhance the reading, the Morning Ex featured discussion and videos of historical events in the book. History teacher Dr. Eliot Pope discussed the mistreatment of Black World War II veterans, and the audience watched videos of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eulogy and President Barack Obama’s speech at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. At the end, everyone stood and sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” together.

This pair of Morning Exes was a perfect way for students to join together and share all the hard work they have engaged in, not only for this one month, but for the entire year.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.