Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Educating Our Future About Our Past: Because of Them, We Can

Educating Our Future About Our Past:
By Tony E. Boyd, Contributing Writer

Black History Fashion Show Models

On a pleasant Saturday evening on March 7 at Fayetteville's Donald W. Reynolds Boys' and Girls' Club, a program was held. Not just any old program, but one to celebrate greats in American history. It just so happened that these greats, these heroes, these innovators were Black. 
MC Steven Toston & MC Leora Jackson

Spearheaded by the founder of the Umoja Soul Writers Group, Leora Jackson, the program was designed to inform attendees about the important roles these figures played in the shaping of America. It was also to celebrate those contributions in a manner that both educated and uplifted. Ms. Jackson disclosed that her inspiration for the program was an online exhibit that she had stumbled upon that used child models to represent historical figures. Being very impressed with the idea, she decided to bring the concept to life in NW Arkansas. 

Chelsea James Boys & Girls
Club Representative
The program, included models aged 3 - 11 in costumes representing the varied historical and relevant figures. There were representatives from Sojourner Truth all the way through President Barack Obama. The program itself included poetry, singing, speeches and music.

The event was kicked off with Chelsea James from the DWR Boys and Girls Club giving the opening address. After which, Pastor Marcus Carruthers of Dwelling Place Church gave the opening remarks. Haley Smith was called upon to introduce the masters of ceremony, Leora herself and Steven "Ladebac" Toston.  After that, it was on to the models. 
Pastor Marcus Carruthers

The trailblazers represented were: Sojourner Truth (as I mentioned earlier), Angela Davis, Joe Louis, Langston Hughes, Ruby Bridges, Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Assata Shakur, Muhammad Ali, Daisy Bates (the Arkansas native), and President Barack Obama. The young people were tasked with delivering short vignettes about their historical figures while modeling their costumes. It was cuteness overload. I was quite impressed with their poise. 

Mila Gaston
Mariah Carey

Alyanna Carter
as Ruby Bridges

Xavier Brown
as President Barack Obama

Chloe Belle
as Angela Davis
                                                                     Collin Tims
                                                                       as Langston Hughes

But alas, for the youngest though, the stress of being up in front of a crowd was a bit much. (I can definitely relate). Ironically Ruby Bridges, the person she was representing probably felt some of the same type of anxious feelings as she single handedly integrated William Frantz Elementary School in Mississippi. 

Mayor Lioneld Jordan
The crowd was also treated to an impromptu, off-the-cuff speech from the Honorable Mayor Lionel Jordan. He attended the event in support of education about Black history, unity and the well-being of all of his citizens. His message spoke to the futility of divisiveness and the hope for a more inclusive future.

Inspiration was the word of the day. It was a time of coming together, a time of learning, a time of understanding, and a time of igniting the future. And since this will be an annual event, we can all take heart in promise of inspiration coming from the past, gracing our present, and remaining relevant into the future

Carrington Sims
as Sojourner Truth
Caleb Honore as
Muhammad Ali


Kaylee Sibley as
Daisy Bates
Valarie as Assata Shakur

Look for more Fashion Show pictures at https://plus.google.com/photos/115726712543906153638/albums/6124779812977977185?authkey=CLPzsv3Ttd-Wcg 

Story & Pictures by Tony E. Boyd