“Black Men United!” was the theme of this year’s African American Male Teach-In, held last week for the eighteenth straight year at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, 3275 N. 3rd Street. Sponsored by the school’s Governance Council, the teach-in allowed students to rub elbows with and talk to over 50 Black professional men of varying occupations from law enforcement and judicial system, education, media, culinary arts, business, contractors, construction, community outreach and government to name a few.
“The African-American Male Teach-In is an opportunity for men from the community to come into Dr. King School, network, see and meet the students, but also to share themselves with the students,” said Dannette Justus, a third grade teacher at MLK Elementary School who helped organize the event. “Our hope is that a connection will be established between students and men! This is our 18th year doing it and some wonderful partnerships have been formed between Dr. King School and our community.”
Two of the men who participated in the teach-in were awarded the African American Male Image Award. Andre Sherard and Carl Sloan were honored for their weekly work with MLK’s 3rd and 4th grade students for the past two years. They also escorted the 8th graders for the 8th grade Civil Rights Tour this past May.
The men marched through the halls of the school accopanied by an African drummer so they could meet the students who couldn’t attend the assembly, where a traditional libation ceremony, introduction of the men to the students and the presentation of the African American Male Image Award was made.
After the program, the men were escorted to their assigned classroom, where they talked to the students using one of the Kwanzaa principles, as well as about themselves and their occupation. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
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