Black History Month: Briley's Story

As we near the end of Black History Month, we’re excited to introduce you to some members of our church family and learn how they celebrate in their own words. Today, meet eight-year-old Briley. She has attended Willow South Barrington since she was born and lives with her family in Elgin.

“We read about different people at home. Some of my favorites to read about are Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and Booker T. Washington. I really like how they just talk through poems. I really, really like poems. Maya Angelou wrote poems. Booker T. Washington made a school out of a little shed, and thousands of people came, so he built a real school. Back in their time, there was a lot of slavery, which makes me feel sad, but it makes me really happy to know that my people, after they came down, they got back up and rose again.

I have a lot of books that I read with my mom. And this Black History Month, I had the idea that we should talk about a person every week and then memorize a little quote from them. This month, I want to memorize a quote and put it up in our room. When we’ve accomplished all the quotes, we can put a star by that quote.

I’m finding out I’m royalty. My shirt says “queen in training,” which is true because my ancestors were kings and queens. I have my own iPad to look it up. I like looking things up. Normally I’ll ask what Africans wear, ‘cause I don’t know. I wish I could see my people. I want to learn more about my culture. And I’ve always been interested in learning about different types of people, but recently I thought, ‘I like learning about different types of people; maybe it’s time to learn about my own.’

If I could have dinner with anyone, I am learning it would be Booker T. Washington. I just like what he did, and if I could talk to him, I would be like, ‘Hi. I’m a big fan.’ And we would just talk the whole night, and I would ask him, ‘What does your culture mean to you?’ I think he would say it means he can teach his people and help them whenever they need it.

If I could have dinner with anyone this month, it would be my mom because she is a changemaker. She teaches other students, which means she’s basically doing what Booker T. Washington did, which means she’s continuing what he did. She is giving her students research projects about different African Americans to celebrate Black History Month. I think it’s important for white kids to not only see people their color, but to be like, ‘Oh, we’ve got a mix of people. We’ve got some of you, we’ve got some of you. . .Let’s join together.’” 

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