STELLARTON – Grade 4 and 5 students from Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School participated in educational activities celebrating African Heritage Month on Friday.
It’s part of a program put on by the Museum of Industry for the past 10 years to encourage schools to learn about African heritage outside the classroom.
Andrew Phillips, Curator of Education and Public Programs, said students are quite interested in Nova Scotia’s black loyalist history.
“We’ve had seven schools come in this month,” Phillips said. “They’re fascinated by this aspect of the province’s history: the existence of slavery and racism but also the hope and dreams held by loyalists as well.”
Cameron Osgood, 10, starred in a historical skit as Violet King, a black loyalist who, with her husband, made her way from New York to Nova Scotia and finally Sierra Leone.
“I knew a little bit about black loyalists, but starring in the play helped me to learn more,” she said.
Ginette Samson, Grade 5 teacher at Frank H. MacDonald, said the Museum made an offer that she couldn’t refuse, since African Heritage Month is part of the class’s curriculum.
“We’re always looking for activities to incorporate in the lessons,” she said. “The students always enjoy a trip and with this fun exhibit for the students, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
The French Immersion classes spent two hours at the museum participating in a variety of activities including African mask making, a historical skit and Loyalist-era artifact identification.
The museum also had posters and map depicting the triangular trading system that saw slaves from Africa work in North America to produce goods for Europe. A timeline showing key moments in the history of slavery, such as the American Revolution in 1776, the migration of black loyalists to Nova Scotia and other British colonies, the abolishment of slavery in the Empire in 1833 and the American Civil War and subsequent end of slavery in North America in 1865.
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