As a part of Black History Month, Wildwood Recreation Center, 1000 28th St. S., St. Petersburg, put on a standing room only black history program that left parents teary eyed.
The Feb. 28 program consisted of dance routines by Girls United Dancers, a poem by Courtney Bynum and drumming by Johnny Brown and Dontavius Crapps that would have left Questlove of the Roots jealous.
The highlight of the evening was memorized biographies by the children. Each child took to the microphone in front of a packed room and recited short biographies by a historical figure such as scientist, surveyor and almanac author Benjamin Banneker; Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female to hold a pilot’s license and activist Ruby Bridges known for being the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.
Thanks to the efforts of supervisor Barbara Walton and the rest of the Wildwood staff, the evening went off without a hitch.
Walton has been putting on programs for other centers for years such as Jordan Park Latchkey and Lake Vista Recreation Center, but she just recently started at Wildwood and has worked tirelessly for weeks to put the program together.
“This is what I want people to see for our young children — to be constructive instead of out here doing anything,” said Walton. You need to do positive things with the children to show them that we can unite together as one.”
For three weeks the staff and parents worked with the kids to help them memorize their speeches. Walton and staff also worked with the children in choreographing their dance moves.
After Center Supervisor Paul Morrison thanked his staff for being so committed to their jobs and making his job easy, a delicious meal of chicken, meatballs, yellow rice and vegetables was served by Miller Catering Service.