Blacks in Wax gave participants an opportunity to experience history in a different way. Unlike lectures and out of touch textbooks, volunteers made up of students, and alumni portrayed history live.
Jasmine Cannon, a junior in Women’s and Gender Studies, said to see the hundreds of faces and witness visitors learn something new is uplifting.
Cannon portrayed civil and human rights activist Ella Baker, whom she admires. Baker attended Shaw University in Raleigh. In 1927 she graduated as class valedictorian at the age of 24.
The African American Cultural Center hosted hundreds throughout last Saturday morning and afternoon on Feb. 21. One group alone contained more than 200 people, according to program director, Toni Thorpe.
“We want to enhance the curriculum. We want to bring some equality to the curriculum,”Thorpe told one group.
“If you look at the history, books often many stories are omitted. You don’t see the stories of people that look like me, and if you do they are sometimes halfway told or incorrect.”
Harriet Tubman was the first character visitors were introduced to. She spoke of enslavement and the underground railroad she helped conduct. The other characters, from President Barack Obama to Ray Charles spoke of being black in America, and highlighted their life’s struggles.
“We get up and we go through our day , we walk into the classroom and sit any place we want and don’t remember those who came before us and were spat on,” said Thorpe. “The goal is to make you aware.”
Both educating and entertaining, the museum encouraged participants to consider seeing themselves as global citizens despite identity.
There’s only one history said Thorpe.
“There’s not an African-American history, Asian history, Native American history, and Eurocentric history, there’s one globe, so theres one history,” Thorpe said.
“We all have to understand that we have a call to justice and a responsibility to see our self as global citizens.”
Referring to the impact the day ‘s experience had on young visitors, such as the school-aged children, Cannon said that them just seeing someone who looks like them, around their age doing something great means a lot.
“Instead of watching TV they came to a college campus and got to see student leaders exhibiting and showing how great their history is,” Cannon said.
Saint Mary’s School, N.C. State’s SKEMA program and the NC-MSEN Pre-College Program were a few of the groups who visited the museum.