For Immediate Release
Friday, June 05, 2009
Contact: Peter Golkin 703-228-3346 (voice) 703-228-4611(TTY)
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Fifth graders at Taylor Elementary School have created a “Seat for Social Justice” and donated it to the Arlington Public Library. The artwork went on display today at Central Library as a symbol of the Library system’s commitment to serving Arlington’s diverse community.
The “Seat” was created by Taylor language arts classes as part of a lesson on integration and segregation, and after the students read a young adult novel on confronting racism, “The Liberation of Gabriel King.”
A second “Seat” by the students is being given to the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of integration at the school, the first such case of public school integration in the Commonwealth.
The Woodlawn program is located on the former site of Stratford Junior High School, which 50 years ago became the first integrated public school in Virginia.
“This work of art is a wonderful symbol of American and Arlington history,” said Library Director Diane Kresh. “These student artists and historians have given us a powerful reminder that we are all the beneficiaries of the fight for social justice that took place decades ago.”
The project to blend art with curriculum was inspired by the Hands-on Atlanta organization, based on Rosa Parks’s refusal to sit in the back of a Montgomery, Ala. transit bus.
On a bus seat donated by the Arlington Public School Transportation Department, students created a collage using their own poetry plus articles, quotations, and pictures depicting the Civil Rights movement.
For a selection of photographs of the "Seat of Justice" donation event, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arlib/sets/72157619289295784/
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.