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History comes to life with "wax figures" from Chicago school

History comes to life with "wax figures" from Chicago school
History comes to life with "wax figures" from Chicago school 02:29

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A South Side school became a living wax museum on Monday.

Students transformed into historic Black Americans at LEARN Hunter Perkins' Charter School.

The school's gymnasium was transformed into their stage.

"My father left me at the age of one but my mother stayed to care for me."

With a push of a button, the "wax figures" came to life.

"I'm chance the creator, chance the advocate, and chance for change."

Eighth-grader Ronnie Hamer transformed into Chance the Rapper.

"Beforehand I only knew he made music. I didn't know what he actually did and try to help the community. I've learned a lot about him ever since I did this project," Hamer said.

He's one of many students at LEARN Hunter Perkins' Charter School who transformed into a wax figure of historic Black Americans.

The eighth graders are taking on the role of teachers and schooling the younger generation.

"I feel like it's good that we're doing that to show, to give the little kids something new to learn instead of what's in the textbooks," said eighth grader Kareena Jackson. 

"Our living wax museum connects to that cultural relevancy for our children where they're not only able to learn about these historic figures, but they're also able to learn about people who look like them," added eighth-grader teacher Geneka Whitaker. 

Historic figures like Madam C.J. Walker.

"She really opened up the doors for Black women to become millionaires," said eighth-grader Jayla Stewart. 

And Whoopi Goldberg...

"She came up from nothing. I think she actually made something of herself," said eighth-grader LeShayla Patter.

Also included American political and civil rights activist, John Lewis," portrayed by Damon Collins. 

"We march here today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of," he said. 

The youngest person portrayed: inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman.

Jayla Cunningham/8th grader


"I think that she's an inspirational person because although in third grade she had a speech impediment, she overcame it," said eighth-grader Jayla Cunningham.

And Japanese tennis player, Naomi Osaka

"She was just really inspirational for me because she's not like, she's not from the 1900s, well she is, but she's like 26, so she's not really old. And I felt like you can be inspirational at any age," added eighth grader Camaia Harris. 

Black and Wax is an annual tradition here at the school during Black History Month. It started in 2016.

"They have been making sure that they are accountable also for their learning. That is one of the pillars here at our campus; making sure that we are engaging our students in a way that not only prepares them for high school but also prepares them for college," Whitaker said. 

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