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Black History Day at Boynton Middle School

Boynton Middle School students learned about black culture and history, engaged in dialogue and considered issues of race on February 15, during the school’s Black History Day. The theme of this year’s event was “Our Stories.”

Following a kickoff assembly, students participated in breakout sessions throughout the day. This year, members of the Afro-Brazilian Arts school Capoeira Angola Quintal demonstrated the art of capoeira, a martial art hidden in dance that was created by enslaved Africans in Brazil. Capoeira involves dance-like movements and the use of musical instruments, which historically disguised its practice as a martial art from slave owners.

Students watched a capoeira demonstration and learned more about traditional instruments, and some were given the opportunity to learn the basic movements of capoeira.

Later in the day, students learned from groups and community leaders including Alpha Phi Alpha, Rahmel Mack, Jay Stooks, Tommy Miller, Phoebe Brown, ICSD board members Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell and Eldred Harris, Ana Goldsmith, and Dr. Nia Nunn, who spoke about the importance of learning about the stories of black leaders not frequently covered in the classroom.

Nunn stressed the power of dialogue and having human conversations about race, reminding students that we are all 100 percent human. “We all matter and we have to take care of each other, but there’s a specific history and story associated with blackness that we don’t always have the space to talk about,” she said. “Having pride in yourself and your people is critical.”

The day culminated with an all-school celebration that included a performance by the New Roots Steel Drum Band, a student demonstration of the capoeira movements they learned throughout the day, and a powerful student poetry reading.


Belle Sherman
Beverly J Martin
Cayuga Heights
Fall Creek
South Hill
Boynton Middle
DeWitt Middle
Ithaca HS
Lehman Alternative


Ithaca City School District
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
400 Lake Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-2101