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Juneteenth Reflection In Time Program Held At the Howard Thurman Home

Thise quilt was nitted by the students and volunteers of the feeding program.
From left to right students and volunters hold up a quilt they created durlng the summer lunch feeding program,Jakiyah Spain-Mabry, Bryant Wilcox, Qasim Abdul-Tawaab, Destinee Mills, Anthony Rivers, Inez Stafford, Andrew Thomas, Elissa Thomas, and Amandra Desangle.

The Juneteenth Reflection In Time Summer Research Program was an intensive summer research literacy program developed and implemented by Elissa Thomas, an Education Consultant. The program was formed to address an expressed concern of Volusia County students and recent graduates who felt ill equipped to confidently conduct research and

write research papers in preparation for college.

The established goals of the program were to expose youth to various methods of research, demonstrate the effective use of modern technology in conducting and presenting research projects, and to provide students with resources and skills to be responsible citizens and life-long learners through reflection. The program commenced with a Juneteenth celebration that was open to the public on June 19th, the official day for Juneteenth, at the Historic Howard Thurman Home located at 614 Whitehall Street in Daytona Beach.

During the celebration, participants were actively engaged with various activities such as weaving, crocheting, making corn husk dolls and sampling ethnic food to expose them to the lifestyle of “Negros” from Colonial America, through the Reconstruction Period, to the Civil Rights era. This program incorporated experiential and reflective instructional methods to teach students how to conduct historical research. It actively engaged them with past events in American history by visiting historical sites in and near Volusia County.

Students traveled to Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville, Bulow Plantation in Flagler, Dummett Sugar Mill Ruins in Ormond, Cruger DePeyster Plantation Sugar Mill Ruins in New Smyrna and Mt. Moriah Church of Freemanville in Port Orange Florida. For two weeks the students were taught how to become reflective practitioners through daily journal writing and writing reflective essays.

Using the text from ​The Willie Lynch Letter And The Making of A Slave , the participants learned how to conduct research by analyzing text, identifying sources and examining the validity of the sources. They were taught to differentiate between qualitative and quantitative research and were exposed to MLA and APA style writing methods used on the collegiate level for writing research papers. For the culminating project, the students were given the task of completing a research project using historical documents from primary and secondary sources.

Through the use of collaborative software and cooperative learning methods the students focused their research on the areas of religion, economics, family structure, societal roles and stereotypes of the African American community today and the role or impact slavery had on it. New Birth Corporation, the organization responsible for the maintenance of the Howard Thurman Home, not only allowed the students the use of the Howard Thurman Home to conduct this research program but also funded the program.

Their sponsorship allowed the students access to current technology through the use of Chromebooks and additional resources to complete the research projects.

The program concluded on July 3rd with the students watching a pre-recorded video of Frederick Douglass’s speech “What To The Slave Is The Fourth of July” delivered by Leslie Gabriel Hannans and produced by Darian McCaskill, Instructor of Mass Communications and Director of Video Productions at Bethune Cookman University.

During two weeks the students wholly captured the essence of the program’s goals as evidenced through their research projects and reflections said, Elissa Thomas. The participating students included a current student at Mainland High School and recent graduates of Atlantic and Mainland High Schools. Those students are enrolled in 2019 Fall semester classes at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona State College and Bethune Cookman University.

This program was a success through the help of Amandra Desmangle, the Instructional Assistant who aided in the instructional delivery of the program; Bryant Wilcox, New Birth Corporation Intern who conducted tours of the Historic Howard Thurman Home; Cindy Woods, owner of CC’s Creations who taught crochet; Irene Sanders and Wanda Scott who volunteered daily serving breakfast and lunch meals to the students through the Volusia County Summer Meal Program said, Thomas.

"Parrish Cooper who volunteered and assisted with the menu selection and food preparation for the Juneteenth Celebration and culminating event on July 3rd and Andrew Thomas, a recent graduate from the Academy of Communications Multimedia Technology at Mainland High School and owner of A.T.Limited who provided digital Artwork, advertisement publications and website creation and maintenance for the program also helped contribute to the success of the program, said, Thomas

Thanks to Andrew for assisting us with this story. More information about the program as well as videos, pictures and contact information can be viewed online at:

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