Culture

Mississippi Teacher Decorates Classroom Door with Powerful Message from the Ancestors

Mississippi Teacher Decorates Classroom Door with Powerful Message from the Ancestors

Teachers from across the nation have decorated their classroom doors in honor of Black History Month. Jovan Bradshaw, a math teacher at Magnolia Middle School in Moss Point, Mississippi, joined in on the celebration to give her students an important history lesson. 

"It all started with this little boy in my class. We were talking and he said, ‘Slaves didn’t do much because they couldn’t read or write.’ He kinda caught me off guard,' Wave 3 News reports Bradshaw saying. “I said, ‘Baby, if I snatched you up and dropped you off in China or Germany or Africa even, you wouldn’t be able to read and write their language either. Does that make you useless or any less educated?’”

Inspired by the words of author and poet Rev. Nadine Drayton-Keen, Bradshaw decorated her classroom door with this message to her students: 

"Dear Students, they didn’t steal slaves. They stole scientists, doctors, architects, teachers, entrepreneurs, astronomers, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc., and made them slaves. Sincerely, your ancestors." 

"So many of our African American students don’t know where they come from. All they are taught is slavery, the servitude side only,” Bradshaw said. “They need to know that we were great long before slavery. We built a country with our blood, sweat and tears, and the strength of our ancestors is why they can be great today. You have to see people who look like you contributing to society, and the African contribution is left out at school. I teach math, but I’m woke and I plan on waking up every student that comes through the halls of MMS."

Bradshaw, who has been teaching at Magnolia Middle School for six years, is now running for teacher of the year. She's got our vote.