CHS History Department Recognises Black History Month

Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2019 Published: Monday, 25 February 2019 Written by Deborah Harris

Black History Month started in the U.S. as a way to raise awareness of the contributions of African Americans to that society. It is celebrated during the month of February every year, and has been adopted by several countries, including Dominica, as a time to raise the awareness of our own history, as well as, to raise awareness of the issue of reparations for slavery. The History Department conducted the morning’s Assemblies during the week of 18th to 22nd February with each form level assigned a specific day.

Choir & Sign Language Club performanceThe theme of the month is “Know Thyself” and the History Department chose to profile a Dominican personality who had made a significant contribution to Dominica’s history. Each form level was given one personality to research and create a profile, which would be read out at the Assembly, and later displayed on the school’s bulletin board.

Form One started off the week recognising the contribution of Sr Alicia de Tremerie (1-1), who founded the Credit Union Movement in Dominica; Elizabeth Israel/Ma Pampo (1-2) centenarian, who was believed to be the world’s oldest living person at 128 years; and Mabel Moir James (1-3), politician and first female Cabinet Minister in Dominica.

Tuesday’s Assembly was conducted by the Second Forms. Their personalities were Mabel Cissie Caudeiron (2-1), folklorist and Kweyol nationalist; Mr Emmanuel C Loblack OBE (2-2) trade unionist, politician and co-founder of the Dominica Labour Party; Fr Clement Jolly C.Ss.R, (2-3) Redemptorist priest and author; and Dr Bernard Sorhaindo OBE (2-4) obstetrician and gynaecologist. The second formers also spiced up their assembly with a dance, which was well received.

On Wednesday, the Third Forms profiled Cecil E A Rawle (3-1), lawyer, politician and committed regionalist; Franklin A M Baron (3-2) Dominica’s first Chief Minister, entrepreneur, newspaper editor and politician; Jefferson Joseph [Jeff Jo] (3-3) musician; and Pierre Charles (3-4), politician and former Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Jean Rhys (4A) author; Dame Mary Eugenia Charles DBE (4B), lawyer, political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party and the first female Prime Minister of Dominica; and Phyllis Shand Allfrey (4C), politician and Cabinet Minister in the West Indies Federation were profiled by Form Four at Thursday’s Assembly. A special feature of the Assembly was a beautiful steel pan rendition of “No Woman, No Cry” by Josmyne Floissac, Erzel Smith and Safia Valmond.

5th Form AssemblyThe Fifth Formers closed out the week’s Assemblies featuring Michael Douglas (5A), politician and former political leader of the Dominica Labour Party; Dr Nicholas J O Liverpool (5B), jurist and former President of the Commonwealth of Dominica; and Edward Oliver Leblanc (5D) politician, member of the House of Representatives in the West Indies Federation and former Premier of Dominica. During the Assembly, the school’s Choir, led by Sherniah Alleyne, along with the Sign Language group, led by Jade Lindsay, did a powerful rendition of Katy Perry’s “Rise”.

The History Department sought to inform the students about personalities who have contributed significantly to shaping Dominica’s history. Of course, this exercise would not have been such a success without the guidance and organizational skills of the teachers of the Department, Ms. Tesaline Christopher, Ms. Shania Scotland, Ms. Stephanie Alexander and Mrs. Deborah Harris (HOD). We would like to thank the Administration of the school for so readily accepting our request to observe the week, as well as, to anyone else who helped the students to prepare for the Assemblies. The History Department is committed to promoting our history in order to inform our students about our local and regional history and, in the process, help to create Dominican and Caribbean citizens who have a strong identity and a strong sense of self-worth.

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