Original artist of Ocala’s Black History Mural teaching students about documenting history

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 5:17 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - This month, we are learning about Black history. In Ocala, students are learning about influential African American leaders in their own city.

Ocala has a rich Black history, and teachers across Marion County are helping their students understand it.

Sunrise Elementary Art Instructor Michele Faulconer is one of these teachers.

She was one of the original artists that helped create west Ocala’s Black History Mural.

“I worked on the mural originally when I was with CF as the Exhibit Coordinator at Brick City Center for the Arts and then I recently helped refresh the mural for the revitalization of it,” Faulconer said.

While working on the project, she found that not many children knew about Ocala’s Black history and thought it was important to find a way to share that. Now she’s brining her knowledge into her 4th grade classroom.

“My students have been working on mock-ups of people they believe are important to current Black history and he Civil Rights movement,” she said.

Students are calling on the likes of former President Barrack Obama, current Vice President Kamala Harris and Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman for inspiration.

Faulconer said the next step for these models is to have the students think about how they would create their own black history mural.

“There is so much to learn about Ocala. I know I learned so much in the process of creating it. In the original project we even interviewed some of the elder from the community and got their input as to what areas they wanted covered, and to be able to share that with my students, my fourth graders, the importance of documenting history and creating history through art has really been a phenomenal experience,” Faulconer added.

The west Ocala Black History Mural is located at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex.

You can also visit the mural virtual here.

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