On Saturday the visual arts group took a trip to the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan. The instructor took the kids to this burial site to expose them to how blacks in New York were treated and put to rest when they passed. From the 1690s to about 1794 free and enslaved Africans were buried right outside the settlement of New Amsterdam later known as New York.
After watching a documentary about the history of the burial ground the arts group took a tour around the cemetery and talked about their views and thoughts of the memorial.
The Junior Scholars Program at the Schomburg Research Center is a unique program for young people. Kids around the tri-state area attend these morning Saturday sessions to learn more about Black American studies. The young scholars are split up into special groups to demonstrate their talents and to talk about global black experience through photography, visual arts, spoken word, theater and many others. All of this hard work will pay off during the celebration at the Junior Scholars Summit in May.
Every year the program identifies a specific topic for the year. This year it is “AfroFuturism,” the idea of how the black race would progress and and grow mentally to become more aware of their opportunities for success in the future.
This year the visual arts instructor kicked off the year by bringing the group to the African Burial Grounds to start thinking about what kind of message we want our audience to receive and how our ancestors have wanted us to live our future.
“What does Black Futures means to you?”
The instructor asked the group that question before they started taking pictures and and choosing how they wanted to present their work.
The experience of putting together the project for the end of the year celebration takes a lot because the discussion and the brainstorming the group goes through is very intense. The visual arts group has used the archives at the Schomburg to collect old footage and documents that could relate to the topic for the summit. As the summit approaches the group will complete various pictures and edits for other scholars and parents to see.