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Dartmouth elementary students create museum celebrating Black history


Filing into the gymnasium one by one, Brookhouse Elementary students in Dartmouth, N.S., beam with pride as they see their work on display at the school’s annual African Heritage Month Museum

Vice principal Carmel Mitchell says this is the third year of the collective school project that goes beyond a textbook.

“At the beginning of February each year, we assign every class a topic or person to research in consultation with the teacher,” said Mitchell. “They work on their project until it’s time for us to showcase it in the museum.”

From local Black-owned businesses to famous African Canadian athletes, each student researched and collaborated on their subject -- including 11-year-old Kinsley, who featured Legends Barbershop and Ebony Hair Salon.

“It was really cool because there’s a lot of jobs and businesses that you wouldn’t normally see and hear about,” said Kinsley.

It’s a message that while African Heritage Month may be over -- teaching Black history should be part of the year-round curriculum.

“It’s a really cool way to show representation,” said author Lindsay Ruck, who helped with one of the classroom’s assignments. “They are seeing themselves in some of these stories, but it’s also showing that African Heritage Month is for everyone."

To amplify Black history, along with honouring the community’s perseverance, the school is also bringing in guest speakers from various industries as part of their African Heritage Career Fair.

Funmi Odeniyi, owner of MichNat Fashion, was asked to speak about her journey as a fashion designer -- a passion she pursued after immigrating to Canada from Nigeria in 2016.

“It’s amazing to see these young children asking questions like, ‘What’s your area of focus in fashion?’” said Odeniyi. “Opening up these opportunities for them to learn, I feel, is such a great way to start them early.”

For these students, it’s more than just an assignment -- it’s a statement that Black history is Nova Scotia’s history. Top Stories

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