DANIELS, WV (WOAY) – At Daniels Elementary School an actress from Voices of the Earth, a performing arts organization, visited students during an assembly to portray Harriet Tubman and teach them about slavery.
The idea is that students get a better opportunity to learn about history if they can directly interact with those figures. Linda Bunce, an educator at Daniels Elementary, says the experience is an ideal way for children to learn about the complexities of American history.
“It’s important to humanize that whole history of the past and make it come alive for them. So if you have an actual character come in, they can learn about it in the classroom, study this person – Harriet Tubman, and then actually have her appear in the gym, you know, in- person. So that makes it exciting for them,” Bunce said.
Ilene Evans, an Artistic Director at Voices of the Earth, portrayed Harriet Tubman at the school. She says she hopes the kids take away valuable lessons from this experience and learn about what it means to be free.
“Before the Civil War it was taken for granted that only certain people were worth helping or investing in or giving an education,” Evans said.
Evans also mentioned how it’s important kids learn about what slavery meant and how it devalued people. She wants the kids to know that each of them is important and has a purpose in the world.
“The value that each one of them is important, that each one of them has something to contribute to the world, and we need that gift now”
The assembly stems from the West Virginia Humanities Council, which started the History Alive program to teach children about history through performing arts. The Humanities Council partnered with Voices from the Earth in the mid-’90s and has been serving West Virginia Schools ever since.