Carroll Students Celebrate Black History


Carroll Students Celebrate Black History
Alyssa Weisberg

Black History is World History

In February, members of the JCCHS Heritage Panel organized a fun and informative Black History Month Assembly for faculty and students!    The theme of the celebration was “Black History is World History” and included black history in America represented by different cultures, countries, and communities.  
Sophomore TJ Berry began the assembly with the following comment, “For many people, black history may be the time of slavery in American history, or it may remind people of the Tulsa massacre, or maybe others think of the Civil Rights Movement. But for people who immigrate to the United States from many other countries, such as island nations and African countries, their ‘black history’ represents their homeland brought here and incorporated into everyday life.”
The group’s presentation started with highlighting the countries of Nigeria and Kenya, which are represented by several John Carroll families. Elizabeth Okunbor, a senior, shared information about the traditions of her Nigerian heritage through examples of food, clothing, and music. She also relayed how important social customs are to the Nigerian community. “In Nigeria, certain tribes require a young woman to kneel on the floor or curtsy, whereas young men are expected to lie prostrate, squat, or bow completely to the ground. This must happen regardless of where or the number of times you’ve seen that elder”, she explained.  
Junior, Neila Nene, invited her mom, Tabitha Mwangangi, to recount her move from Kenya as a young immigrant to the United States. Mrs. Mwangangi told stories about growing up in Kenya and the “culture shock” of moving to America. She also discussed how the sizeable Kenyan culture is alive and active in Birmingham today.  
According to Neila, “Kenya has over 40 tribes, which have their own traditions and languages. My parents come from two different tribes, my Mom is Kamba, and my Dad is Kikuyu. These tribes are still prominent today!”  
The students also heard from another special guest, Fr. Vernon Huguley. Father Huguley shared his story of growing up as the youngest of 8 children in a Catholic family in Mobile, AL. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Black Catholic Ministry in the Diocese of Birmingham and is the Pastor at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Hoover. 
The final guest at the assembly was Reverend Dr. Charles Diggins, a member of the Diocesan Gospel Choir. Reverend Diggins shared his talents on the keyboard as he sang gospel music reflective of the strength, hope, and solidarity of all who have faced oppression. He ended by leading the entire student body in a joyful singalong of “This Little Light of Mine”! 
The John Carroll Heritage Panel is overseen by Senior Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Ginny McMillan. The Heritage Panel comprises a diverse group of students who commit to being positive role models within the school and to building up a positive school culture related to race, gender, cliques, and differences in cultural backgrounds.