FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --This month marks Black History Month and a Fresno middle school is using the arts to showcase the past.
Beyond the entrance of Gaston Middle School, dancing and the sounds of music filled the air as students and staff celebrated Black History Month. "Just celebrating African American culture, dance, music, celebrating those that gave their lives so that African Americans could have a better way in our country-- celebrating contributions made by aFrican Americans," said Lisa Nichols, Gaston administrator.
The school itself is named after Fresno Unified's first African American principal Rutherford B. Gaston. "Everyday we have the opportunity to celebrate an African American who was a trailblazer," said Felicia Quarles Treadwell, principal.
Students helped organize the assembly, which also covered more serious subjects in history. They spoke about the Birmingham church bombings in 1963, where four girls killed and took time to remember the riots.
Eighth grader Delivia Littlejohn said she was honored to serve as the narrator of the assembly. "It feels like its our time to shine. Everyone has a month and this is ours."
The band and show choir also used the arts to pay tribute to history.
The entire student body at Gaston Middle School was able to attend including some students from nearby King Elementary. "It allows our students to know they can become one of these famous African American people and change the world," said Treadwell.
The assembly kicked off Black History Month. Leaders hope the message of remembering the past and overcoming the odds will resonate with students here at Gaston, this month and all year long.