Voice Recognition
Select Language 

District News

KCMS highlights 'elements' of Black History

Photo of the Periodic Table of Influential African Americans
This Periodic Table of Influential African Americans can be found in the main hallway of Kent County Middle School. The project illustrates the important roles Black leaders have played throughout history.

CHESTERTOWN —Kent County Middle School has taken the most famous chart in science and turned it into a celebration of Black History Month.

A wall near the school's office and entryway has what appears to be a large hand-made version of the Periodic Table of Elements, but it is not about the atomic building blocks.

The Periodic Table of Influential African Americans highlights Black leaders, scientists, artists and activists throughout history.

"The next time you have a chance to visit Kent County Middle School, take a second and stop by our African American influential wall — as you just might find someone you never knew about," Tyray Johnson said on a social media post highlighting the Periodic Table history project.

Johnson is the middle school's Title I family liaison and leader of the Achieving Academic Equity and Excellence for Black Boys (AAEEBB) mentoring program.

He has worked to highlight for students in the AAEEBB program the important roles so many Black leaders have played throughout history. They took a field trip this fall to the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore.

On the school's periodic table, the historical figures are organized by their work, with categories including Famous Firsts, Politicians, Activists, Scientists and Entrepreneurs. Each person is listed by their initials.

Photo of the Periodic Table of Influential African Americans

Under Entrepreneurs, modern-day rapper and business mogul Jay-Z is featured alongside Garrett Morgan (1877-1963), who invented a three-way traffic signal and founded the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Co.

Renowned mathematician and astronomer, Benjamin Banneker, born in Baltimore in 1731, holds the top placement on the wall, as hydrogen does on the table of elements.

Each name has a QR Code that takes viewers to a website offering biographical information.

Photo of the Periodic Table of Influential African Americans

The idea for the middle school project came from teacher and instructional coach Christine Clark.

"I got the idea from social media and thought it was a great way to highlight influential African Americans, some of whom are ones we do not regularly hear about in the history books," Clark said.

Similar periodic tables highlighting Black History have been posted in other schools and public libraries throughout the country.

Kent County Middle School students have supplemented the history project by creating biographical posters highlighting influential African Americans.

Art teacher Janet McCormick and students also created an art project using archival photos collected by the Washington College program Chesapeake Heartland: An African American Humanities Project.

Learn more about Kent County Middle School at www.kent.k12.md.us/KCMS.aspx.

Photo of the Periodic Table of Influential African Americans

Print This Article