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Hoech Eighth-Graders Create Art Museum to Celebrate Black History

As part of Black History Month, Hoech Middle School teacher William Givens challenged his eighth grade social studies students to transform their classroom into an art museum that showcased the accomplishments of famous African Americans and their culture. View photos of the artwork.

Some students focused on civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, prestigious athletes like Kobe Bryant and Jackie Robinson, religious leaders like Richard Allen or military heroes like the Tuskegee Airmen. Others shared projects on elements of African American culture that were important to them like hair products, justice and freedom. But beyond the historical information, Givens challenged them to reflect on why they were doing this project.  

“I wanted them to reflect on how this piece inspired you and how it can inspire others,” said Givens.

Students led their families through the exhibit during the grand opening on Feb. 18. They also spent a week giving tours to other Hoech classes that came to visit during one class period per day.

Givens said his students went above and beyond in creating their pieces and making it a meaningful experience for themselves, their peers and their own families.

“My students worked so hard on their projects and really created a wonderful experience for others,” said Givens. “I’m so proud of them.”

Parents purposefully gazed at each art piece while reading the individual reflections. Many said they were impressed with breadth and depth of the projects.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a museum like this as part of my child’s class,” said Arrianna Conners, mother of eighth-grader Taylor Smith. “This isn’t just about Black History, it's about our history. The kids are really excited about it, and they did such a great job. I’m very proud of all of them.”

Alyssia Hall, who enjoyed making three different posters that reflected Martin Luther King Jr.’s sentiments of equality and justice, says this project challenged her to think about Black History in a new way.

“This really gave me a better understanding of who your project was about,” said Hall. “With my Martin Luther King poster, I feel like I really captured his point of view.”

After completing the tour, visitors were asked to take a short survey to give feedback on what inspired them about the projects and on the quality of the museum.

Black History Museum