By Sam Wildow
TROY — The Lincoln Community Center kicked off Black History Month on Tuesday with a special program for local students in its after school program.
Loretta Phillips taught history to approximately 20-25 children in the after school program, as well read “It Takes a Village” by Jane Cowen-Fletcher to the children and facilitated crafts with them. The theme of Tuesday’s program was, “It takes a tribe to raise a child.”
“You have to know where you came from to know where you’re going,” Phillips said. “The kids learned about kente cloth. They learned about some of the things that Africans do.”
While there are ways to teach young children about slavery, Phillips explained she also wanted to teach children about history before that time period and get them connected to African culture.
“We always talk with the children about slavery, and they need to know where they came from or the where the slaves came from and what their life was like before they became slaves,” Phillips said.
Phillips discussed the lives of African tribes and the coming of age traditions within some tribes, including young men learning to hunt with their fathers. The center had various kinds of every day items from African tribes on display, including woven baskets and bowls made from coconuts, as well as other bowls and ceremonial masks that had been whittled.
There were also kente cloth patterns on display, and one of the crafts the children could do was color their own kente cloth pattern with crayons.
“A lot of the tribes have different color cloths, different designs on them. Some are formal, some are casual,” Phillips said.
The Lincoln Community Center’s after school program will continue with future programs on Black History Month.