African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

Kathy White Smith

I remember being in elementary school in about the fourth grade. It was my own curiosity that got the best of me. I was wondering why they didn’t have books with my own image and names I felt were familiar to me. So I went to the library and looked up black names and authors. There I found Harriet Tubman, one of my favorites, Mary Mccloud Bethune, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver. After reading them I knew I wanted to accomplish and be something in life because of all their efforts. In sixth grade I had a teacher by the name of Mrs. Rose Martin who taught and made the class learn black poetry and present a play in Philadelphia at Overbrook High School. On opening night…we knew we were stars after that. Then we went all around schools in Philadelphia, PA, to present the play on stage and also in Washington, DC.. Mrs. Rose Martin should also be in the Black History Hall of Fame. To this day I have given black history books to my children to read when they were young. I started them off early. I believe it gave them a feeling self confidence to know they can accomplish anything they want to be also. Thank you, Mrs. Rose Martin…I salute you for the best teacher award, for Black History Month!