Project-Based Learning Centers African History
In 1919, frustrated by the racism that kept African Americans from participating in the global economy, Marcus Garvey incorporated the Black Star Line, a steamship company that moved goods, and, later people.
“The bottom of this is to float,” said fourth grader Journei Spicer, picking up her cardboard and bubble wrap steamship. “The side of it has the name of the ship, the Black Star Line, and this is the flag.”
Journei's classmate, Janae Marshall, carved her steamship — featuring tissue paper steam — from styrofoam.
“One thing I learned working on this project was someone tried to sabotage the Black Star Line,” Janae said. “That’s why I think it’s important to do the assignments.”
Journei and Janae are students at African-Centered College Preparatory Academy, a unique program that helps Black students connect with their history through project-based learning.
“For my generation, growing up, our history started with slavery and somehow skipped to the Civil Rights Movement,” Principal Claire Thornton-Poke said. “These students understand that their history has been ignored.”
Every month, students at AC Prep participate in school wide projects that relate to the monthly theme. In October, students learned about the Black Star Line and Garvey’s work in the Pan-Africanism movement. This month, the school is celebrating Kwanzaa, an African-American festival that begins on Dec. 26.
“I have parents who come to me and say, ‘I learned so much from my child. I didn’t know that before,’” Thornton-Poke said.
Journei said she loves participating in the school wide projects because they’re fun.
“It’s part of our culture,” she said.
- AC Prep
- Black history