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Club hosts Black History Living Wax Museum

Club hosts Black History Living Wax Museum
Posted on 02/28/2019
Amy Johnson, a teacher at Arlington High School, had an idea several years ago to bring black history to life. It went like this: students would portray historical figures from the civil rights movement and other notable moments in black history. They'd dress in time-period garb, all the way down to the style of their hair, and act out different lines.

"We started by setting the students up in the library, and their peers walked around to the various stations to learn about these important historical figures," Johnson said.

Johnson, who sponsors the Multicultural Club at AHS, and her students just wrapped up their fourth year of hosting the Black History Living Wax Museum. Students portrayed a variety of African American leaders, from the civil rights movement to athletics, including Florynce Kennedy, Huey Newton, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Dominque Dawes, Misty Copeland and Gabby Douglas.

This year also brought more diversity, Johnson said. The museum featured two white women, Viola Gregg Liuzzo and Juliette Morgan.

Liuzzo, who helped African Americans register to vote during the 1960s, is reported to be the only white woman killed by the KKK during the civil rights movement. Morgan was a civil rights activist who strongly supported the integration of schools.

"Historically, our museum has only portrayed African American figures, but Black History Month is much more than that," Johnson said. "It's to celebrate everyone who has made a difference for black culture and society, so it was great incorporating these figures that many of our students have likely never heard about."

The living wax museum was also interactive. iPads were displayed at each station and gave the students an opportunity to learn even more about the notable figures.

"Cultural diversity is a part of our world, and it's important that we teach our kids to be respectful of it, to learn about it and to understand it," Johnson said. "This museum allows our students to do a deep dive into these historical figures and learn more about these individuals and what they stood for. It's really inspiring."