Black History Month at the White House – With Kids!

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Please excuse me while I get a little sentimental and mushy today. I know there are important stories to talk about – there are every day. But I just read about one that moved me on several levels.

As you know, February is Black History Month. We’ll leave the discussion about why we need a special month to learn about Black History (could it be that otherwise we don’t hear about it?) for another day. Because yesterday Michelle Obama found a wonderful way to celebrate it at the White House.

No, those are not business or community leaders or foreign dignitaries visiting with Michelle in the White House. They are our future leaders – sixth and seventh graders from local schools.

First Lady Michelle Obama opened the doors of the White House to 180 sixth and seventh graders on Wednesday for a Black History Month celebration that included two pep talks and a rousing musical performance.

The students, who came from three local schools here, heard from Adm. Stephen W. Rochon, the chief usher, who runs the mansion and oversees everything from state dinners to redecorating. He is the first African-American to hold that position.

They also heard from Mrs. Obama, who told the students a little bit about the black history of the White House. She talked about the slaves who helped build the executive mansion, about Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation there and about Marie Seilka, a soprano, who became the first African-American artist to perform in the White House in 1878.

She described President Kennedy’s meeting with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the White House and President Obama, who is the first African-American president to live there. Then – as her daughters, Malia and Sasha, listened along with the students – she urged the students to remember that they would write the next chapters in history.

But that’s not all. After all of this, the students were treated to a musical performance by Sweet Honey in the Rock.

If you’ve never heard of them, this is a womens singing ensemble formed by one of my heroes, Bernice Johnson Reagon. I’ve had the privilege of hearing Sweet Honey in the Rock perform live – and can tell you that they are an experience. But mostly two words come to mind…powerful women!!! Here’s a taste.

What an experience for these young people!!!

And it looks like there was also time for hugs all around too.

13 comments

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  1. from Sweet Honey in the Rock.

  2. I also recommend this outfit if ya like some world beat/gospel.

  3. I will try again here anyway they are awesome…

    • Robyn on February 19, 2009 at 18:09

    …of seeing Sweet Honey in the Rock perform live, at a conference in Nebraska…back in the early 90s.

    • Alma on February 19, 2009 at 20:32

    Spreading the sentimental mushy around.  Got me all teary, but in such a good way.  🙂

  4. African American Attorney General is a little less sentimental with his speech in honor of Black History Month. He says we’re a “nation of cowards” when it comes to conversations about race.

  5. I truly like the presz and the first family……

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