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Renee Prewitt

I was a fifth grader at James McCosh Public School in Chicago and we went on a field trip to an African American Museum. It was at a woman’s house and we took the public bus there. I remember that she was very strict: she told us not to touch anything, but she started to tell us that we were once Kings and Queens in Africa and we had created maps of the stars; that we lived in villages where justice was the rule; she also said that we were proud and free. She showed us lots of masks and drums and clothes that she had purchased on her visits to Kenya. Her name was Dr. Margaret Burroughs and years later, I helped her raise funds to renovate an abandoned military building that become the John Baptist Point DuSable Museum of African American History. A few years after that, the push was on for teaching black history in schools and I remember my teacher passing out paperback issues of Before the Mayflower by Lerone Bennett, which completely fascinated me with stories about my people for the next two years.