Polaris Charter Academy

Timuel Black Visits Polaris!

For Immediate Release

                                                                                                     Contact: Carolyn Talaske



Chicago Civil Rights Historian Timuel Black to Visit Polaris Students


CHICAGO, IL. (March 18, 2014) — Polaris Charter Academy fifth grade students will be interviewing Timuel Black on Tuesday, March 18th at 1:30PM at Polaris Charter Academy.  Students will act as Reporters, Observers and Quote Catchers as Black recounts his experiences growing up in Chicago’s South Side, military service during WWII, and activism during the Civil Rights Movements in the 1960’s.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1918, Tim Black calls Chicago his home, living on Chicago’s South Side since moving in 1919 during the Great Migration.  He graduated from an integrated Burke Elementary School then an all-black DuSable High School in 1935, where classmates included the soon to be famous jazz musician Nat King Cole.  He went on to Roosevelt University, where he joined Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor, as a classmate, and earned his master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1954.  He is a revered and highly respected educator, political activist, community leader, oral historian and philosopher. Black helped establish the Congress of Racial Equality, United Packinghouse Workers of America, and more than 100 other organizations over 70 years.  He also served as an adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr. and organized the Chicago contingent for the 1963 March on Washington, bringing 2 “Freedom Trains” with 3,000 passengers to Washington DC.

As part of their social studies expeditions, Polaris 5th and 6th graders explore the various civil rights movements across the nation, including the African American Civil Rights Movements from 1954 to 1965 and Puerto Rican Civil Rights Movement in West Humboldt Park.  Students are in the process of interviewing additional activists such as David Barr III, Chicago playwright known for The Face of Emmett Till, and John Vergara, a West Humboldt Park muralist and creator of the Paseo Boricua/Humboldt Park Coat of Arms mural on the corner of Campbell and Division.  Students will use the information they learn and reflections from the stories they hear to create poems, writings and other pieces in their final product.

Polaris Charter Academy is the only public Expeditionary Learning (EL) elementary school in Illinois and the first school in the Midwest to be recognized as a Mentor School by the EL network.  Students “learn by doing” as they conduct fieldwork, speak with experts, work collaboratively, and create authentic, high-quality end projects for audience beyond the classroom.

About Polaris Charter Academy: the mission of Polaris Charter Academy is to educate students to be self-motivated, creative, critical thinkers, with the ultimate goal of shaping life-long learners and citizens with a strong sense of personal and civic responsibility. While on sabbatical in the fall of 2005, three Golden Apple Award‐winning teachers identified the common thread of their best practices in teaching: they all gave students the opportunity to “learn by doing.” With this common ground established between them, Michelle Navarre, Tracy Kwock, and Roel Vivit’s vision came to fruition as Polaris Charter Academy opened its doors in the fall of 2007.

For additional information and the latest on Polaris Charter Academy, please visit: www.pcachicago.org. For media inquires, please contact Carolyn Talaske at ctalaske@pcachicago.org or 708-271-3957.


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Timuel Black Visits Polaris!