Reginald Museum

 

This past weekend the 4th and 5th graders at City Neighbors Charter School performed at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. After a three month study of the Underground Railroad – which included in-depth readings, studies of history, geography and literature, a visit to the Eastern Shore to trace part of a path of the Underground Railroad, and so much more – the students wrote and performed historical narratives representing the journey on the Underground Railroad.

In the museum’s amphitheather, families, friends, and the public gathered to hear these 9, 10 and 11 year olds capture the spirit and soul of the thirst for freedom. Their narratives reflected themes of inspiration, unending drive, courage, unspeakable sorrow, fear, and hope.

The day also represented the ideals of partnership. The study came out of a summer teachers workshop provided by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Three of our City Neighbors teachers participated this past summer, which laid the groundwork for this remarkable study, led by Mrs. Thurston (our 4th and 5th grader Language Arts and Science teacher). The performance piece today was supported by the Baltimore Shakespeare Company, who followed our performances with readings, quotes and connections between Shakespeare and ideas of colonization, slavery, and freedom. The Shakespeare folks took time before the show to help our students ready themselves – doing 30 minutes of warm-up work with all of our students, and working with individuals as they prepared to take the stage.

Throughout the day – from preparation to performance to post-wrap – the feeling in the room was supportive, aspirational, encouraging, and alive.

The event was a beautiful, authentic culmination to months of study. As Mrs. Thurston e-mailed her families later that day, “Their hard work and dedication prove that young people can be inspired to create beautiful, authentic, and good quality pieces.” It also shows that great partnerships – like the one exhibited between City Neighbors, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, and the Baltimore Shakespeare Company – can create experiences that simultaneously support the work of our children, the work of our public programs and institutions, and the efforts to raise the consciousness and understanding of our world at large.

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