The main lobbies at both Huntington High School and J. Taylor Finley Middle School have been showcasing colorful and informative displays with dozens of artifacts that have helped recognize the culture and contributions of outstanding people of color in the United States.
The attractive attention-grabbing displays were created by the Rev. Bernadette Watkins of Huntington Outreach Ministries to help celebrate Black History Month and educate young people and visitors to the two buildings about some of the most engaging personalities in America’s history.
The items on display come almost exclusively from Rev. Watkins’ personal collection and were carefully selected for display at the schools. The longtime local resident said she views Black History Month as an important teaching tool. She hopes students stop and look at the artifacts and learn from them. “I would like them know about their heritage and to be interested in learning more about it,” she said.
The two exhibits feature hundreds of newly acquired items, including historic stamps, photos, books, arts and crafts, posters, jewelry, figurines, carvings, compact discs, record albums, masks, dolls and statues. Profiles and photos of great Americans of color are also displayed as are stories about local slaves and other interesting facts and vignettes. One of the items is more than a century old.
Rev. Watkins said she hopes to be able to put together an exhibit at a third school in the future. The local community fixture said she has acquired many items over the years that are perfect these displays. “I’m always looking to add to my collection,” she said. “I find many things of value in antique shops all over Long Island.”
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The Tri-Community & Youth Agency’s annual Black History Month celebration was held last Thursday night in the Huntington High School auditorium. The evening included participation by many Huntington students.
The celebration featured songs, dance, poetry readings, inspirational words and “moments in black history” segments.