MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Local historians in Macon are teaching kids about Black History this month through a coloring book, and it’s shaping their world views one page at a time.
“What I’m imparting to these kids are mental mentors, people for them to know about and emulate, and teach them that they have an African American ancestral obligation to learn,” said Macon native Thomas Duval.
For Duval teaching kids black history means coloring inside the lines.
“I began to think, ‘how can I come up with some engaging ways to tell our story?'” Duval explained.
He created an after school program based on his coloring book highlighting local black historical figures for students in grades K through 12.
“We want to give them an opportunity to exercise some of their creative flow and at the same time we want them to be able to learn about this rich history that Macon holds,” said program coordinator Kristen Lattimer.
The program offers students a chance to learn about digital animation and concepts they’ll need to meet state-wide performance standards.
“This isn’t just a coloring book. What I began to realize is if we want our kids to perform on these standardized tests–particularly the milestone test–we have to integrate our history with those milestone objectives so this is actually milestone preparation,” Duval told 41NBC.
“Their stories tie into Macon and bring the kids into why education is important, bring into why the underground railroad is important,” Lattimer added.
But most importantly, Duval says he wants to show them a different picture of themselves.
“The truth of the matter is no one has told them their great local African American history…they don’t know who they are,” he said.
His hope is that kids seeing the beauty in coloring people of color will draw a new excitement about learning.
Within the program, they’ve announced a coloring book contest open to kids in grades K through 12. The student with the most creative design and best knowledge of the historic figures will win $100.
Duval says there are about 40 students so far who’ve entered the contest–mostly kids from Cirrus Academy.