DC schools celebrate Black literature with readings by city leaders

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at Charles Houston Elementary School Friday. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)

D.C. officials and other guests celebrated The National African American Read-In Friday at a local elementary school named after a historic Black resident of the city.

“We are celebrating Black History Month,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told a gym full of students at Houston Elementary School, named after D.C. native Charles Hamilton Houston. “And of course, we celebrate Black history year round in Washington, D.C., because we have a lot of Black history to celebrate.”

She was one of a handful of guests who stopped by to read books by Black authors and highlight some of the city’s history to the students.

CLICK TO EXPAND: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten reads to a second-grade class Friday. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)

“I bet you know, and you learn in your school every day, how important Charles Hamilton Houston is, to our history,” Bowser said. “He was an extremely accomplished lawyer. And one of the things he did was that he played a key role in ridding our country of Jim Crow laws. Those were laws that allow places like schools to segregate people and discriminate against Black people. So your school is named after this very important man for our entire country.”

Houston also served as a vice dean for the Howard University law school and was the first general counsel for the NAACP.

“Your job as an elementary school student at Charles H. Houston is to sing his praises and let everyone know who he is, and why he is important to the fabric of America,” said Jacqueline Pogue Lyons, the president of the Washington Teachers Union.

The guests read from books such as “The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read” and “The Year we Learned to Fly” in classrooms.

“One of the ways that you can exercise the joy of reading and build knowledge is to read and learn about important people in our history, particularly Black Americans,” said D.C. School Chancellor Lewis Ferebee.

The American Federation of Teachers also handed out books celebrating Black history to every student in the school for their home library.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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