'I decided to dress up for Black History Month so that the kids are actually seeing a live person from history. I just wanted to bring history alive for the kids.'
Latoya McGriff is a first-grade teacher and to celebrate Black History Month, she decided to dress up as a different African American historical figure every school day.McGriff decided to also put a focus this year on African American historical figures local to Virginia. Her personal favorite has been Mary Jackson. Latoya McGriff dressed as Mary Jackson, an aeronautical engineer who helped develop the NASA Space Program. Latoya McGriff dressed as Mary Jackson, an aeronautical engineer who helped develop the NASA Space Program. Courtesy Latoya McGriff Jackson was a mathematician and an aerospace engineer for NASA in the 1950s and played a large -- and widely unrecognized -- role in sending the first astronaut into orbit. Jackson's life was most recently portrayed in the 2016 blockbuster"Hidden Figures," where she was played by Janelle Monae. Mary Jackson retired from the NASA Langley Research Center in 1985 as an Aeronautical Engineer after 34 years. Mary Jackson retired from the NASA Langley Research Center in 1985 as an Aeronautical Engineer after 34 years. NASA "Mary Jackson personally influenced me because of her struggle," said McGriff."She was known as a human computer, yet she wasn't even allowed in meetings because of the color of her skin and because she was a woman. Yet, she prevailed." McGriff dressed as other well-known figures such as Misty Copeland, Ella Fitzgerald and Barack Obama, but also gave recognition to those who are lesser-known, such as James Lafayette, a former slave turned spy during the Revolutionary War; Dr. L.D. Britt, the first African American doctor in America to have an endowed chair in surgery; and Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court's first African American justice. Latoya McGriff dressed as American Ballet Theatre's principal ballerina, Misty Copeland, during Black History Month at Creekside Elementary School. Latoya McGriff dressed as American Ballet Theatre's principal ballerina, Misty Copeland, during Black History Month at Creekside Elementary School. Courtesy Latoya McGriff MORE: When this artist honored Princeton’s blue-collar workers, the university took notice Latoya McGriff dressed as Dr. L.D. Britt, the first African-American doctor in America to have an endowed chair in surgery. Latoya McGriff dressed as Dr. L.D. Britt, the first African-American doctor in America to have an endowed chair in surgery. Courtesy Latoya McGriff Along with different historical figures, McGriff also chose to honor historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations. Two institutions personally relevant to McGriff are Hampton University, the Virginia school that she graduated from in 2006, and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., the sorority of which she's a member. Latoya McGriff also honored historically black colleges and universities, HBCUs, and Black Greek-letter organizations during Black History Month at Creekside Elementary School. Latoya McGriff also honored historically black colleges and universities, HBCUs, and Black Greek-letter organizations during Black History Month at Creekside Elementary School. Courtesy Latoya McGriff McGriff said she wanted to incorporate HBCUs and Black Greek-letter organizations as an inspiration for higher education. "[Learning about these organizations] gives children something to look up to, and they get excited about wanting to go to school and get to college," McGriff told"GMA." "I hope that [the students] learn, no matter the circumstances, they can make a difference in this world," said McGriff."No matter where they come from, how they look, they can make a difference." MORE: Model, restaurateur B. Smith dies at 70 following battle with early onset Alzheimer's Although the online attention has been a shock, McGriff hopes it will continue to raise awareness of the importance of Black History Month in schools. "I hope that [people who see the story] will implement some type of Black History Month program in their school," McGriff said."They don't have to dress up like I did … but, I just want people to incorporate black history so that other students of color can see themselves represented in history." Read more: ABC News
👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿 wonderful to see a teacher who obviously loves what they do! Good but how is the black on black crime going ? Lovely. Students See'g those examples of us n professional/ leadership role, very important. Frgt Nthe impressionable yrs. Blackwomen hve moved way beyond the Mamie/ washer woman images. R teachers matter here big time. Celebrating BlackHistoryMonth
Love it! Living history. Awesome teacher! This will stick with those students forever. BlackHistoryMonth
Robin Thede: ‘Turn Black History Month into Black History Year’ (Guest Column)From “The Queen Latifah Show,” “The Nightly Show,” “The Rundown with Robin Thede” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” my career has been dedicated in lar… No. robinthede Hire them. Listen to them. Empower them. Don't just bring them on for appearances. Take black ideas seriously. Don't steal them and silence their voices. When they ask for raises and promotions (and are clearly deserving) do the things in your power to make it happen. Period.
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10 civil rights sites you should see before Black History Month comes to a closeFrom the Kansas school at the center of a landmark Supreme Court case to the site of Malcolm X's assassination, these sites bring black history alive. 'The struggle for civil rights is remembered in many places. Here is a list of some notable, but often overlooked sites worth checking out.' Montana elected the first woman in the Congress a little over 100 years ago. Note: She was a Republican. .
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