Black History Month program takes on different meaning at Hillcrest High School two weeks after walkout

Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 8:39 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Students at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa put on a massive Black History Month program Wednesday.

This comes exactly two weeks after students walked out of school in protest, saying the school wasn’t doing enough to remember Black history.

It all depends on who you talk to. Some say yes. Others aren’t sure.

But on Wednesday, students forgot about the walkout and focused on a well-orchestrated and well-attended Black History Month ceremony.

Once they turned down the lights in the school gym at Hillcrest High School, they shined a light on Black history, dancing, singing, speeches. Around 1,000 people attended and all were taken around the world, getting a taste of Black culture.

Senior Jada Holt says the ceremony made everyone temporarily forget about what happened two weeks ago when frustrations and anger spilled on the front lawn of the school over concerns school leaders weren’t doing enough to honor and remember Black history.

“I feel great and I don’t feel like there’s a weight on my shoulders anymore. I feel good,” said Holt.

Jamiyah Brown spearheaded the protest on that day. “I’m excited to be at the program and I am happy it’s finally coming together and we worked so hard in getting it together,” said Brown.

There seemed to be mixed reviews whether school district officials have done enough since the walkout to be more engaging with students and learning what it is they’re looking for.

School district leaders say there are ongoing conversations.

Reginal King Jr. is happy that in spite of the protest, the Black History Month program went well and was well-received.

“We’ve been able to overcome everything we’ve faced in the past few months and proud of everybody who got involved,” said King Jr.

Tuscaloosa County Superintendent Dr. Keri Johnson attended the event but declined an interview saying she wanted the ‘focus to be on the students.’ Two weeks ago, a walkout in the front yard. Two weeks later, they came together as one.

Students say a Black History Month program of this size has been going on for four years at Hillcrest High School.

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