The junior class embarked on an all-class field trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in October as part of a cross-curricular education experience for students.
Juniors read Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy in English, discuss Catholic Church social teaching in theology, and dive deeper into the history of the United States; this field trip gives students more context and information on a pivotal part of the junior year curriculum.
The field trip "was beneficial as it gave a chance for my peers and I to immerse ourselves in the rich history of Black and African Americans. Black and African American history is an extremely important piece of American history, and I know many of my classmates and I were grateful to be given the opportunity to increase our knowledge on this topic,” said Noeme White ‘24.
“The [museum] is purposefully designed to affect you visually, emotionally and physically,” said Jackie Carroll ‘24, who noted that the most powerful moment for her occurred at the exhibit on Emmett Till. “The centerpiece of the exhibit is the actual casket the family used at his funeral. Looking at the coffin made his senseless murder so real to me.”
With a large group, juniors had different starting points, and some did not have the opportunity to see the below-ground floors that chronicle history - but it did not lessen the trip’s impact, noted Kaitlin Rodriguez ‘24, who toured the top floors more focused on culture and community.
“I recognized many great artists such as Diana Ross, Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson, Lena Horne, Michael Jackson, and so many others. Each artist had a story to share and this, I truly found inspiring. Whether it was fighting for women's rights, African American rights, equality, justice, etc., they produced their music with passion and a great message,” said Kaitlin, who is a musician herself.
“Music can spread thoughts and ideas, and people’s messages all over the world. Messages to stop hate, to end racism, stop incarceration, to support each other and to spread love,” said Kaitlin. “This made me feel that I too can make a difference in this world with my own music, my own talents.”
“Discussing and reflecting on the trip was also important,” said Noeme. “Listening to my classmates express their feelings and opinions was extremely meaningful and I thought it reminded us that we are outlets for each other when it comes to having conversations about different issues like these."
“[The museum] has so much to offer to the visitor,” said Jackie. “I feel like I only absorbed a small portion of the exhibits, and I look forward to going back.”