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2 Kansas City schools chosen as ambassadors for national initiative

Hartman Elementary 400 Years of African American History
NPS 400 Years of African-American History Commission
Posted at 1:15 PM, Nov 04, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two Kansas City, Missouri, schools will serve as national ambassadors over the next year, educating others about the history of African Americans in North America.

The African-Centered College Preparatory Academy and John T. Hartman Elementary School were chosen to serve as institutional ambassadors for the National Park Service’s 400 Years of African-American History Commission. The commission was established to mark the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in 1619, who were brought to Point Comfort in the colony of Virginia.

Both schools selected a theme to focus on during their year as ambassadors. At African-Centered Prep, the theme will be “Breaking Barriers” and will include discussions on African American pioneers. At Hartman Elementary, the theme “Stand Up to Keep a Seat” will focus on the African Americans who fought to gain access to equal and equitable education.

"We will be showing our boys and girls that they have the power in their hands to make a difference, so they need to decide what they are going to stand for," Hartman Elementary Principal Jessie Kirksey said in a news release. "Our job is to empower our students, and that's why I'm so excited about this initiative.”

The two Kansas City schools join about 400 others across the nation participating in the initiative. Both schools hosted events on Monday to celebrate their selection.

“Kansas City played — and continues to play — a very pivotal role in the history and culture of African Americans and the story of race, diversity and equity in this nation,” Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell said in the release. “I’m extremely excited to see how the students and staff at African-Centered Prep and Hartman Elementary help share that important narrative with our community."