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Sheridan Elementary School recently welcomed legendary photographer Cecil Williams. Well-known for his photographs that chronicled the Civil Rights Movement, Williams spoke to the Sheridan students about his experiences during the civil rights era as he shared his renowned “bullet shell” photography. The photo represents the shell casings he gathered from the historic scene of the Orangeburg Massacre in 1968, where three African Americans were shot and killed during an anti-segregation march.

Students and teachers alike were amazed to learn that it was Williams’ discovery of those shell casings that provided evidence for the Orangeburg Massacre trial.

The program also presented an opportunity for students to hear a selection of African drumbeats from the Bongo Brothers Inc. and musical selections from the student choir.

Sheridan teachers and staff also conducted other activities to teach students about black inventors and figures. During the school's first annual Black History Scavenger Hunt, teachers and staff dressed up as various African American inventors, and students across the school raced to guess which teacher was which. One class from each grade won a popcorn or cookie party for correctly guessing as many inventors as possible.

Students used the opportunity to learn that African Americans were responsible for inventing home security systems, the ice cream scooper, the ironing board and the foil electric microphone.

Following the Black History Scavenger Hunt, students from grades K-5 gave oral reports about various Black History notables during their “living museum display.” They dressed up as famous personalities, such as Jackie Robinson, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama.

Contact the writer: jordone.massey1@gmail.com.

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