While waking up over a school break at 4:30 a.m. would be a challenge for most students, it wasn’t for the 25 youths who had to be at New Haven Police Department at 5 a.m. to get on the bus to the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum in Baltimore, Md.
At 5:30 a.m., the people on the bus enjoyed a breakfast at McDonald’s that was paid for by the New Haven Police Department P.A.L. program, under officers Marcus Tavares and Nancy Jordan. PAL also sponsored the trip.
The trip included students and a host of other people, such as truancy officers, correction officers, school teachers and police officers.
During the 4 1/2 hour trip, issues pertaining to inner city community violence were discussed. I am 16 and a junior at James Hillhouse High School, and I asked the personnel, what some of the benefits of going on this trip were. Officer Tavares responded that from learning our history we learn what our ancestors went through and hopefully that will help to prevent young people from killing each other over nonsense.
Once at the museum the students were in awe over being able to see history "virtually." Yvonne White, 18, also a student at Hillhouse, said that the experience was very exciting, and being able to see all the different wax sculptures made her better understand black history and how we as a race progressed from being slaves and slave-minded to being free as humans and free in our minds.
Justin Pittman, 13, who attends Sheridan Academy, said after seeing the lynching exhibit he believes that they were real brutal but also worries that lynching is still going on in our society. Chantel Morrison that literal lynching is not going on today, but that we as a people are lynching ourselves with drugs, alcohol and guns.
Officer Dewlyne Ponteau a school resource officer at Hillhouse, said that the trip was very educational and it showed some of the struggles that are ancestors went through. Sheila Little, chief clerk at Hillhouse, said while viewing the exhibits the harsh reality of what our ancestors endured really hit home and that our struggles still continue to this day.
The sad truth is knowing that homicide is the leading cause of death among black males ages 15 to 24. Between 1976 and 2008 94 percent of black murder victims were killed by black offenders. The exhibits were really educational and I hope to share with my peers what I learned and trying to find away to stop youth from lynching themselves from drugs, alcohol, guns and irresponsible activities like unprotected sex.
Editor's note: Ronald Huggins is a student at James Hillhouse High School in New Haven. For information about the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum,