Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 4: Blacks in Wax and back to Bucknell

Brittany reading about
modern business leaders.
Maho and Carmen looking at the
slave ship exhibit.
This morning we said goodbye to the 4-H Conference Center and departed for Baltimore. Our first stop was The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. It didn't look like much from the outside and it didn't look like much when we walked into the entryway, but when we went through the swinging doors to the actual displays, it surprised us. It was the most honest display of African American history that we had seen on the entire trip. Right as we walked through the doors, there was a room made to look like the hold of a slave ship that was really eye-opening. A bit farther into the museum and down a set of narrow stairs was a room that was dedicated to lynchings that was shockingly graphic. However, if you had young children with you, those rooms were well marked as portraying sensitive material and could be avoided. The museum also depicted significant people of color from the ancient Egyptians all the way to Barack Obama. Unfortunately, we only had an hour in the museum and we probably could have spent twice as long there. I would highly recommend it if you are interested in learning about the black history.
Eunyque looking at one of the displays.

Imam Earl El-Amin showing us his
favorite room: the library.
From there we travelled across town to The Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore. We were greeted by Tariq Najee-ullah, a member of the community and graduate student at Georgetown, and Imam Earl El-Amin. Imam Earl is a very affable man who was excited for us to visit and took us on a tour of the center which is an old house located on the edge of Leakin Park. He told us that he was going to use one of the rooms to start a chess club for the kids, he showed us the library of books about the history of Islam and his collection of Jazz CDs and ended in the masjid where he invited us to sit and ask anything we wanted about Islam. One of the interesting questions was about Muslim names. He explained that Tariq was born a Muslim so he had his name from birth, but he, himself, was a "reverted" Muslim so he got to choose his own name. He didn't say he converted, because he always felt that he was Muslim and had a DNA test done to find that his ancestors were taken from African areas that were Islamic. It was a very informative visit and he warmly invited us back any time we wanted.

Trey, Esmerelda, Sha-Asia and Neyda talking about
the Posse Program.
During lunch at P.F. Chang's at the Inner Harbor, we discussed some of the feelings we had about our trip and then headed back to Bucknell. Unbeknownst to me, they told them it was my birthday and they brought me a birthday treat which was very sweet of them. It was a fantastic trip and I look forward to our followup debrief to see what the students thought of the trip after having a chance to relax.

No comments:

Post a Comment