Students Learn Black History at Practice Facility in Waltham

WALTHAM, Mass. – Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

America has come a long way since King made these remarks nearly 50 years ago. Thanks to his and many others’ brave leadership, African Americans today have rights, opportunities and civil liberties. As a result, America celebrates Black History Month every February.

To that end, the Boston Celtics, the National Guard, Kendrick Perkins, Luke Harangody and Northeastern Professor of African American Studies Emmett Price hosted high school students at Waltham’s practice facility Wednesday afternoon to celebrate Black History.

As the students entered the Hall-of-Fame room to eat a light lunch, they were immediately drawn to the windows overlooking the basketball court. As Celtics players were just ending practice, the students were very excited to see their favorite players.

After getting their food, the students and members of the National Guard were grouped at four different tables where they would be a team for the afternoon while Perkins and Harangody worked with two teams each. To break the ice, students participated in a quick facts game where they went around the room asking other classmates Black History questions from their sheet of paper.

With a little Black History knowledge in their heads, it was time to cram! Each group received study materials with information that would be used for the trivia game. The information ranged from Jesse Owens being the first Olympic athlete to win four gold medals in 1936 to Thurgood Marshall being the first African American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before the trivia game began, however, the groups were given more information! Each group received a time period in history detailed with events that shaped African American history. The teams proceeded to present their time period to the room. The last presentation was extremely creative as the students made a rap to educate the group about their period of history!

Trivia, the final event of the afternoon, took place in the gym. Perkins and Harangody were impressed by how much knowledge the students had retained from the cram session earlier. In the end, all the teams won! Perkins, still impressed with the students’ knowledge, expressed his desire to have them all come to a game. When the kids heard that they would be able to see the Celtics play, cheers erupted in the gym.

“It’s always great to be at this event,” said Perkins. “It’s important that our youth learn how hard work and dedication from people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks impacted their lives for the better.”

The event was capped off by the students being able to shoot around on the court.

“We had a good time,” remarked one student. “The activities taught me a lot about African American history.”