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Sarasota County public schools celebrate Black History Month | Community Spirit

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Sarasota County public schools celebrate Black History Month
Sarasota County public schools celebrate Black History Month

Sarasota County, Florida -- Today, Feb. 11, students and staff at Sarasota County public schools began celebrating Black History Month with special activities thoughout the month.

Below is a list of scheduled activities from Sarasota County Schools:

Monday, Feb. 11:

8:30-10 a.m.: Booker High School will bring 420 students to the VPA Theatre for a presentation about the life and times of Robert Smalls, whose great-great grandson travels the country as part of a speakers’ bureau. The presentation includes a video that is part of a four-part series aired on PBS, “Slavery and the Making of America.”

Robert Smalls (April 5, 1839–Feb. 23, 1915) was an enslaved African American who, during and after the American Civil War, became a ship's pilot, sea captain, and politician. He freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 13, 1862, by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, the CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor, and sailing it to freedom beyond the federal blockade.

He was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. After the American Civil War, he became a politician, elected to the South Carolina State legislature and the United States House of Representatives. His example and persuasion helped convince President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army.

As a politician, Smalls authored state legislation providing for South Carolina to have the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States, and founded the Republican Party of South Carolina. He is notable as the last Republican to represent South Carolina's 5th congressional district

Tuesday, Feb. 12:

11:45 a.m.: At Bay Haven Elementary School in Sarasota, Tracy Bakich’s class is presenting The Great American Slavery Debate in the Media Center. Fourth-graders, in costume, will represent plantation owners, stationmasters, conductors on the Underground Railroad, slaves as servants, slaves on the Underground Railroad, historians and African American Union soldiers as they debate issues surrounding slavery in the 1850s and 60s.

Thursday, Feb. 21:

12:30-3:30 p.m.:Alta Vista Elementary School will honor Black History Month as they celebrate the 24th National African American Read-In. Readers will share with students books authored and/or illustrated by African Americans.

Friday, Feb. 22:

9-10 a.m.: Gocio Elementary School will welcome Carolyn Mason, Chairwoman of the Sarasota County Commission

Wednesday, Feb. 27:

Time to be announced: Phoenix Academy (grades 8-10), will have a Black History Program with our focus on celebrating 50 years since the March on Washington and 150 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The speaker will be local NAACP President Trevor Harvey and will feature Phoenix students and other local youth talent.

Thursday, Feb. 28:

Time to be announced: Bay Haven School of Basics Plus. Every year, Mary Jo Mundy’s second-grade class has a Black History Wax Museum outside her classroom. Each of her 18 students dresses up as a famous African American. As visitors approach, students introduce themselves as the famous person and tell you a little autobiographical information. The costumes are elaborate and the students have their messages memorized, so they speaking with great fluency to as many as 50 visitors.