Students learn about Ocala’s Black History mural

Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 4:39 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - The contributions of the African American community come to light in Ocala as students dive into the city’s Black history.

In partnership with the City the of Ocala, the Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA), the College of Central Florida (CF) and Marion County Public Schools (MCPS), an education booklet has been created based on Ocala’s Black History mural.

And it was made possible by the Levitt Foundation Community Bridge grant.

“The Levitt Foundation who funds the Levitt Amp Concert Series because of COVID we have to delay our Levitt Concert Series much like other communities in the United States and so they put out a separate small grant which we were able to receive and in order to print the guides,” Cultural Arts and Sciences Division Head for the City of Ocala, Laura Walker said.

The booklets meet Florida State Standards under social studies, music, and visual arts for grades kindergarten through 12th grade.

30 of the booklets, enough for a full class to participate at a time, will be provided across 50 school media centers.

“There are a lot of representations from historical time periods including Club Bali that happened here in Ocala that hosts a lot of musician including BB King. There’s also first African American school, here in Ocala, the first African American hospital so all of those things are displayed in the mural,” Walker added.

And it all comes at an important time, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“And that’s one of the reasons I feel it’s important as well. I feel that all of our students need t know that they have a voice. They can do anything they set their mind to and if they want change to happen they can make it happen and no matter what age you are if you use your voice you can make it happen,” MCPS Fine Arts Specialist, Joanna Crowder said.

Crower said she’s excited for her students to learn about the mural.

“I think that being able to look at that wall and the history and the people who are featured on it, they were trailblazers especially during the civil rights movement and continuing that into today and I find that the people who are on the wall could serve as an inspiration to our students,” she said.

A virtual tour of the mural and each panel’s depictions can be found here.

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