george floyd by ashley doggett

Looking Back to Ensworth’s Celebration of Black History Month

Ensworth’s celebration of Black History Month took on a variety of forms, engaging faculty, students, parents, and alumni in honoring the history and contributions of Black people and continuing the conversation on racial equity and justice.
* The celebration kicked off the first days of February with a special video Q&A with Ensworth mothers of color. View the full video below for their stories of struggle and inspiration.

* On February 10, High School students experienced a Diversity in the Arts panel discussion on the state of the arts in Nashville as seen through the eyes and careers of local minority artists. The guests—Ashley Doggett (Painter & Fine Artist), Rod McGaha (Jazz Musician & Photographer), and Xavier Payne (Illustrator & Designer)—engaged topics of diversity and inclusion as it relates to art and society. Doggett’s work, including a large painting of George Floyd, is currently on display in the Ingram Arts Center and Academic Building.

“An active engagement of students in conversations like these is both valuable and essential,” said David Whitfield, Director of Community Engagement and Inclusion. “We thank all the students for submitting and we look forward to hosting these artists and sharing new voices with the Ensworth community.”

* During the week of remote-learning snow days in mid-February, Middle School history teacher Maurice Hopkins interviewed Jesse Washington of ESPN’s The UnDefeated, which was then streamed to the full High School community the following Monday. The topic of conversation was “the right to fail,” a reference to long-time Georgetown and Hall of Fame coach John Thompson’s insistence that most basketball coaches are given the “right to fail,” but that it wasn’t afforded to Black coaches.

* For Faculty/Staff in-service this month, several Black alumni and faculty shared their experiences at Ensworth and offered their perspectives on current social issues. At the High School, Gary Pope ‘09 and Shomari White ‘13 presented on “Exploring Academic-Athletic Tensions at Ensworth.” Ashley Slay Glotta ‘14 spoke on “Black Students’ Experiences at Ensworth: Looking at Discrepancies by Gender.” At the Lower/Middle School in-service, Chela Green ‘08, member of the first graduating class at the High School, presented on “Supporting Young Students of Color at Predominantly White Schools.”

* Senior Esther Okai-Tetteh produced a piece on one of the worst race-related violence in American history, the 1921 attack on the Greenwood area of Tulsa, also known as “Black Wall Street.” It was created with the Middle School history curriculum in mind as a springboard for discussing this low point in U.S. history, where we are now, and how far we have to go.

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