Fourth Grade Teacher Inspires Students To Talk About Race

by Mara Peoples

July 18, 2017

Photo Credit: Robert Daly

“Do you see me?” is how six, Success Academy Bronx 2 fourth grade boys from the South Bronx started out their spoken word production. The students lined up in gray hoodies and one by one spoke the phrase, “Do you see me?” as they honored the black men who have been victims of police brutality and the faces of a movement affecting the world.

See the boys talk about their experience as they perform their production of Alternative Names for Black Boys by Danez Smith.

Fourth grade theater teacher, Sentell Harper shares with CNN how this production allowed the boys to talk about their experiences with race in their everyday lives. When Harper heard Alternative Names for Black Boys by Danez Smith he said, “I thought about the boys I was teaching… society won’t see them like I see them. Society will only see them as black men.”

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

From the moment he started to teach the monologue, he received amazing support from the boys, their families and the surrounding community. The boys were invited to perform at different theater conferences and even Carnegie Hall in New York.

Tell Us: How do you explain to your young children about the realities of being black in America?

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