Bordentown Regional High School celebrates Black History Month


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Community members came together to honor and discuss the significance of Black History Month at Bordentown Regional High School where local government officials, school district staff and students led a unique, special presentation.

As people convened in the high school’s library for the event on Feb. 27, the audience was treated to speeches from local municipal officials as well as discussions on the significance and importance of Black History Month along with visual presentations from multiple high school students who showcased key figures in African American history.

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Bordentown Township Deputy Mayor Eugene Fuzy was on hand to commence the morning event with remarks about the prominence of African American History as well as what he hoped individuals in the room would take away from the presentation.

“This event occurs here at the high school to impart knowledge of the key parts of history where African Americans have influenced and changed the course of American history to you, the next generation,” Fuzy said. “African Americans have driven change and improvements in civil rights, the sciences, and the arts among many other fields. I hope each of you learn at least one new thing to take to heart and carry with you for the rest of your lives.”

Following Fuzy’s introduction, eight high school juniors, led by student Chandler Kirby, presented recitations that included readings and narration as part of a segment called “Little Known Figures in Black History Month” to shed light and knowledge on the contributions and achievements of lesser known figures in African American history.

The presentations from the students offered informative slideshow productions on historical figures which included playwright Lorraine Hansberry, music composer Duke Ellington, politicians Barbara Jordan and Edward Brooke, medical researcher and surgeon Dr. Charles Drew, explorer Matthew Henson, activist, cook and model Nancy Green also known as “Aunt Jemima,” athlete Moses Fleetwood Walker.

“This presentation shows that black people are more than stereotypes and can achieve more than what they abide them to,” one student presenter said. “We hope this presentation shows how talented and accomplished black people have always been.”

Proceeding the students presentations, Bordentown resident, Bettye Campbell, who has been an active volunteer throughout her life in the area’s school district and organizations as well as a curator for the township’s Black History Month programs, was on hand at the event to share her perspective on African American culture as well as present the event’s keynote speaker, her daughter Elizabeth A. Campbell.

Bettye pointed out that this was the sixth annual presentation event for the area’s Black History Month Program, which she said has covered a myriad of topics in African American culture such as the Bordentown Manual Training and Industrial School, historical figures like inventors and explorers as well as famous athletes like Jackie Robinson and civil leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I’m so glad to have students give up part of their lunch or study hour to come and join us today,” Bettye said. “I’m so very proud of our students. I only met with them one time, and we discussed what they’re going to present, and I think they did a wonderful job.”

After Bettye’s introduction and comments, Elizabeth took to the podium to present her speech as she dedicated it to her reflections on her visit to the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. as well as a main topic in her speech being “Examples. Not exceptions.”

“While we have been learning about figures in our history who are African American, let us not for a moment assume that they were exceptions,” she said. “They were examples because context matters – knowing our history.”

Touching on her experiences at the museum, Elizabeth discussed the importance of context being a crucial element in the telling, curation and archiving of African American history with little to no detail being spared.

As she concluded her speech, Elizabeth left the audience with her takeaway lessons from the museum as well as how her experiences at the facility left an impression and resonated with her.

“What I learned [at the museum] was the strength, intelligence and determination of black people with African origins – the barriers they had to come through,” she said. “The barriers that others faced and overcame – they’re examples, not exceptions. I’m an example, not an exception.”

Before the morning event came to a close, the gathered students and community members stood together in accordance for a recorded audio performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” accompanied by a video presentation.

Just before the recording played, Fuzy shared a final remark and lesson to the people in the room as far as looking toward models and inspirational figures in life, which he believed can be found not only in history, but in self.

“Growing up, Black History Month was about finding role models in various exceptional people. Truly though the only role model you need is in the mirror,” the deputy mayor said. “You know everything you did yesterday and if you strive to do better today, you are truly on a path of success.”

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