I have been working as a teaching artist on the Heritage Project as part of the Black HerStory Archives initiative through Black Women's BluePrint.  Big thanks to the Girls for Gender Equity Urban Leaders Academy at MS-61 for opening the door of the afterschool program to this project. 

The young folks learned about the stories and accomplishments of different figures in Black History; Mae Jemison, Sojourner Truth, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr, Marcus Garvey and Shirly Chisholm.  Then, they were asked to spend their week reacting to their lives with these figures in mind; sort of like "What Would Angela Davis Do?"  They returned from this experience full of stories;  one girl went so far as to wear her mother's Shirley Chisholm-like dresses, and a boy came back with an essay about Mae Jemison he'd written of his own volition.

The next step of the project was to create a collage based on these experiences and thoughts; this is where I came in and had the opportunity to work with a number of incredible students .  The students divided into groups by which figure spoke most deeply to them, and they assembled collages based on photos of the figure and themselves, as well as quotes and their own thoughts.  During the collage-making process, students were asked to identify traits they saw in these figures that they also saw in themselves and their peers, and to explain situations where they saw these qualities in action.


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  1. This is absolutely amazing!
    Thank you Tanya. Thank you GGE! Thank you wonderful boys and girls.

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