Tahira Brings Black History Month to Life for Lower School

In a series of back-to-back assemblies on Wednesday, February 7, Lower School students were captivated by Tahira’s interactive storytelling and musical talents. A lifetime member of the National Association of Black Storytellers and a 2023 Delaware Division of the Arts Master Fellow in Oral Literature, Tahira brought Black History to life for pre-K to grade 2 students first and then grade 3 to 6 students in a second assembly.

She carefully crafted each assembly for the age groups in attendance. For the younger students, she shared the story of Ruby Bridges, who, at the tender age of six, was thrust into the heart of the Civil Rights Movement as the first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South. Tahira incorporated audience interaction, call and response, song, and gestures as she took the audience on an imaginary journey back to 1960 New Orleans.

Using the same oral storytelling gifts, Tahira introduced the students in grades 3 to 6 to a slightly more complex tale — the journey Henry “Box” Brown took to freedom with the assistance of the Underground Railroad in 1849. He was shipped in a wooden box from Richmond, VA, to Philadelphia, PA, and confined for 27 hours in excruciating conditions. He made it to freedom and lived as a free man until he died in his 80s.

Tahira closed both assemblies, acknowledging that it is not just the well-known names that we commonly refer to during Black History Month but everyday people of all races who dared to stand up to hate and ignorance that we should remember this month and throughout the year.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a spokesperson. He was the face of the Civil Rights Movement,” she explained. “But there were everyday people that made the movement happen. If there hadn’t been tens of thousands of people in the March on Washington, and Dr. King was there by himself, he wouldn’t have had the impact on our history that he had. The reason he was powerful is for his ideals, of course, but because of the everyday people who also were brave enough to follow and work with him.”