St. Francis of Assisi School Marks Black History Month

Our Black History Program began with Principal, Mrs. Lewis, welcoming the families and friends of our students who had come to enjoy the production of “We are the Dream: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Kathryn Schultz Miller. According to tradition, the performance was preceded by the audience, faculty, staff and student body joining together in the singing of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson.

A prelude was offered by Sr. Kathleen’s Pre K and Kindergarten. They performed “Siyahamba”, singing the lyrics in Swahili and accompanying themselves with rhythm sticks. This was followed by the dramatic presentation of the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Students of Pre-K through Grade 6 made up the choir and the cast of characters.

The program opens with a teacher explaining to her class the dream of Martin Luther KIng and announcing that he would be coming to visit their school.  The play unfolds by offering vignettes of various events in the life and growth of Dr. King.  He is first portrayed as a young boy and the script offers insight into some of the early experiences of Martin as he learns the effects of segregation.

Young Martin with his parents considering the purchase of new shoes.

The plot moves on to Martin’s proposal to Coretta Scott.

Coretta is unsure of her desire to leave her cultured life to share in the dream of Martin.

Dr. King really began his public pursuit of racial equality in the wake of Rosa Parks’ courageous stand on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama.  Thus her story became part of the performance.

Rosa Parks was tired of being discriminated against.

Woven throughout the story of Dr. King’s life, were renditions of spirituals and Civil Rights era songs by the student choir.  Selections in included “My Lord, What a Morning”, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”, Oh Happy Day”,  “We Shall Overcome” and “Free At Last”.

Sister Kathleen Directed and guided the students throughout the program. After many hours of practice and concern the students of St. Francis “did her proud”!

The cruelty dealt to the youth who participated in the Birmingham Children’s March was portrayed powerfully by the students as a sound track from the actual event played in the background.  The audience was solemnly silent as this moment was replayed before them.

The students fell to the floor as the scene in Alabama of the fire hoses and dogs attacking the children was enacted.

The scenes of the drama continued with the latter part of Dr. King’s life and the apprehension he and his family endured due to his activism.  A recording of Dr. King’s voice boomed out over the audience in the well known words of his “I Have A Dream” speech.  Our student actor froze in witness form as this speech played.

Martin Luther Kings speech “I Have A Dream” was was the crowning point of the program.

The members of the choir, as well as the rest of the student body, sang the spirituals from their hearts and in full voice.

The choir sang Spirituals and Civil Rights era songs.

 

The little ones sang their hearts out!

 

All the members of the cast joined together in the closing song; “We Shall Overcome”.

As the last notes of the closing song rang out through the church, all breathed the joyful words, “Free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last!”  There was much to be proud and happy about in the St. Francis School community.

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