A junior boarding and day school for boys in grades six, seven, eight, and nine

Exploring Black History Month

Mr. AJ Bourdon’s Sixth Form Medieval History class decided together that they wanted to take a break from Medieval times and instead embark on a project for Black History Month. Mr. Bourdon was willing to interrupt their normal curriculum, and what was better was that he had an idea: he asked the students to present projects on different topics related to the experiences of black people in the United States. First, the class watched “42”, a movie about the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League baseball. From that film, students took topics they were interested in and developed their projects. They paired up and took on the following topics: African Americans in Sports, African Americans in Education, African Americans in the Work Place, and African Americans in Film. Each group researched their topic and then created a posterboard presentation to present their findings.
On a recent day in February, the students in Mr. Bourdon’s class invited other teachers and Eaglebrook staff members to come to their classroom and look at the work they had done. The students were available to present their topics and answer questions as the faculty members walked around the room. “I wanted the students to formulate opinions about their topics while they were doing their research and then be able to defend those opinions when the other teachers asked them questions,” Mr. Bourdon explained. The posters in Mr. Bourdon’s room that day had a range of titles, like “Why the Knee Was Taken”, an exploration of why professional athlete  Colin Kaepernick famously kneeled while the National Anthem played before games and the backlash he subsequently received for that stance. Another topic was “Why We Need Howard University”, which took on the history of black universities in this country. The whole class period that day was filled with teachers filing in and out of the room, lining up to talk with the students about their presentations. In the spring term, they will be back to Medieval times.