Ready to make history

Today, eighth graders and third graders gathered to compare notes on work they had done to recognize Black Lives Matter at School week.


The third graders had produced posters completing the prompt "In a school where black lives matter..."


The eighth graders had written poems in response to Elizabeth Alexander's "Praise Song for the Day", originally written for Barack Obama's first inauguration.


After sharing their work, they all watched Ms. Alexander reading her poem, in video from the steps of the US Capitol on January 20, 2009.


Many of the eighth graders had seen it before.


But they don't remember it.


They had been three and four years old, watching it live, in Gordon's shared space.


That was almost exactly ten years ago, before Gordon had wifi, and before America had ever had a person of color as a president.


As today's eighth graders students were entering third grade, George Zimmerman was acquitted, and "Black Lives Matter" signs began appearing in windows and on lawns.


Today, they were sitting with Gordon's current third grade, responding to their teacher as he asked them: "Why was Barack Obama's inauguration a big deal?"


They had to work harder to answer the question than their older siblings might have.


This group is too young to remember.


In two weeks, these students will travel to Georgia and Alabama, where they will meet veterans of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.


Every stop of the way, their hosts and their teachers will connect the history to the present day.


History is moving quickly.


It will keep up this pace as this year's three year olds grow into eighth graders.


Whatever comes along, Gordon is going to make sure these students don't miss it.


We want them to be right in the middle of it.



more on Black Lives Matter at School week at Gordon here and here and here and here

more photos from the day of Barack Obama's inauguration ten years ago

a look at how Gordon second graders and eighth graders processed that moment in 2009

more on the eighth grade trip to Georgia and Alabama at

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