On February 24, 2021, Centereach High School’s History Club produced their first online event to celebrate Black History Month. With the motto Honouring the past, fighting for the present, and securing the future, the members did an amazing job at presenting African and Black American protests, with their proper theme being Protests Through Time. Rejecting the pattern of past BHM productions, the advisor, Ms. Duryea, and the members decided not to go along with the national theme, Black Family Dynamics. With the most recent protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, they thought it would be best to focus on the different protests in history.
“They shined the light, not only on BLM, but they went way back to protests from even the 800’s,” says Ms. Duryea.
And that they did as they began their protest portion of the presentation with the Zanj Rebellion that took place from 869-883. Following this was the Haitian Revolution, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, the Rwandan Rebellion, the Civil Rights Movement, the Somali Rebellion, Apartheid, and the recent protests of End SARS and Black Lives Matter. Should students want to learn more about these protests, they can watch this presentation.
Ms. Duryea says, “I don’t know how many people watched the presentation. I asked many of my colleagues to watch it and many of them showed it in their classrooms.”
Other highlights include a mention of Amanda Gorman, an inspirational speaker and activist who delivered a poem entitled “The Hill we Climb” at the 2021 presidential inauguration. They also discussed Alysia Harriss, Rudy Francisco, and Billie Holiday, with 12th grader Ciara Woellhof singing a cover of Holiday’s Summertime. And of course, there were some mentions of Martin Luther King and last speech, and Malcolm X and his speech, “By Any Means Necessary”.
This was a lot to accomplish since everything was done virtually, but the history club members met the task. Even as Ms. Duryea was also occupied with the most recent play of the Drama Club, the deliverance of the presentation was successful. According to Ms. Duryea, “It looked better than I thought it would because the kids put a lot into it. Even without a formal speaker, I thought it went out perfectly.“