Allison Ehrnreiter, Jesselynn Goldsmith and Delaney Moore. (Staff photo by Phyllis McLaughlin/pmclaughlin@madisoncourier.com)
Allison Ehrnreiter, Jesselynn Goldsmith and Delaney Moore. (Staff photo by Phyllis McLaughlin/pmclaughlin@madisoncourier.com)
George Washington Carver. Rosa Parks. Ruby Bridges. Harriet Tubman. Martin Luther King. Frederick Douglass.

They were all celebrated as great African American leaders this past week by kindergartners at E.O. Muncie Elementary School, as part of their studies focusing on Black History Month.

The students picked their favorite African American leader and gave oral reports to their classmates Friday afternoon.

“George Washington Carver was a scientist who studied plants,” said Delaney Moore. “He was the first African American student and professor at his college in Iowa.”

Jesselynn Goldsmith and Allison Ehrnreiter both wrote about Rosa Parks.

In the hallway before the presentations, the girls took turns reading their papers, using pointer sticks: “Rosa Parks was a leader. She helped to end the unfair treatment of many people. She helped public transportation.”

RaeAnne Reece gave even more information about Parks during her report. “All the black people had to sit in the back and the white people sat in the front,” of the public bus, she explained, and told about how Parks was told by a white man to give up her seat in the front of the bus.

“The cops came,” RaeAnne said.

“What did she do,” asked her teacher Lindsay Bullock.

“She said ‘no.’ ”

Hunter Scudder spoke about one white man’s role in black history.

“Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president. He signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves.”

Ruby Bridges was the first African American girl in New Orleans to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in the spring of 1960. She had to be escorted by U.S. Marshals every day for the first year because of anti-desegregation sentiment.

“I think Ruby Bridges was a brave African American leader because she was brave when the white people teased her,” said Jaden Johnson, who is about the same age as Bridges was at the time. “I can be brave like Ruby Bridges by standing up for my family.”

“I can be brave like Ruby Bridges by standing up for other people,” said Thomas McDonald.

Yuzuki Kumihiro gave her presentation in the hallway. “Martin L. King Jr. was a leader. He gave the ‘I have a dream’ speech.’ ”

Art projects lining the hallway outside the kindergarten classrooms included what the students’ dreams are for their school. One group project stated: “We have a dream that the world would share everything! That every one would be nice to each other!”