Steel Valley celebrates Black History Month with annual Barrett Elementary Living Interactive Museum

The annual Barrett Black History Month Living Interactive Museum came to life once again on Thursday, February 22. Barrett students and members of the community toured the exhibits, tasted traditional food, took a few introductory lessons in African drumming, and heard about the life stories of several historic and pop culture figures.

The Barrett Elementary Black History Month Living Interactive Museum is put together by the Barrett Special Events Committee and it is the passion project of teacher Ms. Jonette Bost. It has become an annual celebration of history and culture. This year's theme focused on African Americans and the arts.

Displays and exhibits were stationed throughout the building. As each grade of students visited each station, they were able to learn about various portions of Black history. The displays touched on everything from the cultural influences from the Caribbean and Africa to the influence of major historical figures and trailblazers.

At various points throughout the exhibits were stations where Steel Valley High School students and alumni, as well as special guests, portrayed notable historical figures and pop culture icons. This year's "cast" included Pe'Shince McCarrell as Black Panther and Shatyra Parker as Shuri from the Marvel franchise, Wendeoll Slade as musician Juice Wrld, Tobias McKeever as President Barack Obama, Calil Moon as Malcolm X, Vinton Keller as Martin Luther King, Jr., and local poet/artist Bonita Penn as poet Phillis Wheatley.

Local community organizations, artists, and musicians were also on hand. In one room, the students learned about African drumming and chanting from Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, while in another room they learned about quilting and signed a quilt that was donated to Barrett and Ms. Bost.

Shatyra Parker and NyJair Wilkerson capped the day with a pair of performances. Parker performed "Departed" by Brandy and Wilkerson sang "When I Fall in Love" by Nat King Cole.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible.