F-M students celebrate African Americans’ aspirations, achievements

Fayetteville-Manlius High School students recently gathered together to honor African American heritage, celebrate culture and promote racial equality.

On Feb. 3, F-M High School held its annual performing arts assembly to celebrate Black History Month, which is nationally recognized each year during the month of February. This year’s show at F-M, “Legacies of the Diaspora: Origins of U.S.” featured education, spoken word, dance performances, art and more.

Prior to the event, participating students spent time researching the African Diaspora, said F-M educator and show coordinator Elizabeth Barr. The Diaspora refers to people of African descent living in various societies outside of their ancestral home country, according to the American Historical Association. Those who identify with the Diaspora are united by a past that’s based significantly, but not exclusively, upon racial oppression and the struggles against it.   

“We have students representing the African Diaspora within our own F-M community and it was important to incorporate their stories into the show,” Barr said. “Students also spoke to elder family members and friends who identify with the Diaspora to learn of their past experiences and the legacies they’re striving to leave behind.”

Part of the assembly included a brief documentary screening. The film, which was produced by F-M High School students, provided visual highlights of African American culture, including music, dance, and textiles.

For the event’s grand finale, several F-M students joined a community choir group on stage to perform two songs in Swahili.

“Many students and staff members have expressed a deep appreciation for the assembly,” Barr said. “We want to thank the administration, custodial staff, and tech crew for supporting this endeavor.”

Images from Fayetteville-Manlius High School’s Black History Month celebration are featured in the slideshow below.