The students in McComb Legacies have been meeting once a week this fall to research and document not only local but national history. After extensive research using various sources such as the genealogy archives at the public library, books, online archives (Mississippi Sovereignty Commission), the students were able to narrow their research focus.The topics include:
Students were guided by their research as they struggled to narrow their focus point. As one student, Corina stated, “I wanted to make my research personal so that’s why I wanted to explore more about the railroad history in McComb. The more our grouped did research, the more questions we had.”
The students began to ask questions as to why certain things happened and began to put things together to help tell their story. Another student (Sherese) from the Young Black Activist group stated that she was interested in exploring what initiatives young people took to make a great impact. Roneka stated, “I wondered what happened to our generation? Why are my peers not motivated to walk in leadership roles to change things that are not fair for us?”
From their research, she helped develop some characteristics of young leaders who made change because she wanted to share this with her peers.
The students have decided to host a small history program for Black History month to share their reflections and how important their research was to them. Students also started meeting separately with their groups biweekly because they needed more time. During the meetings, students researched and shared reflections on how their research could benefit their school community.
As students presented reflections and pointed at research, their peers were able to critique them and provide them with feedback. As a teacher, this was a great opportunity for students. Students gave each other ideas that they did not think about for their own project. One student, Jasmine, stated that it’s just not enough to just research, but that the most important part of this project for her was to share what she has learned.