Watch CBS News

Chester County teacher dresses up as historical figures for Black History Month

Chester County teacher dresses up as historical figures for Black History Month
Chester County teacher dresses up as historical figures for Black History Month 02:11

EXTON, Pa. (CBS) - A high school teacher in Chester County is making it a point to teach her kids about Black history, but it's not your usual lesson and it's not in a textbook. 

Tamika Burton is a Spanish teacher at Collegium Charter School in Exton. Burton's class is not only working on learning a new language, but Burton is also teaching them something about Black History. 

"For the past three years, I have been dressing up as a different person during Black History Month," she said. 

Burton is turning back the clock to honor African American heroes of the past and the present. 


On Wednesday, she was rock and roll legend Tina Turner, but over the past several days and years, she's become Bessie Coleman, Joe Louis and Ella Fitzgerald.

Burton said it's important to her to raise awareness of Black History, specifically those who aren't often recognized.  

"It's so easy to do MLK, maybe Malcolm X and Rosa Parks, when I can do people that they really don't know," she said. "It's definitely had an impact."

Burton said she gives out candy to students who can guess who she is, which has become a schoolwide fun activity for students and staff.

"She would come in with the weirdest outfits," senior Aniyah White said.

Students like Aniyah White said what seemed like a joke at first has quickly changed into something that's having an impact on her and other students. 

"It highlights a way for us, the African American female woman here, like, 'Oh I can do that too,'" White said. "[Burton] portrays that. She gives us opportunities to see what else we can do for our life."


For Burton, she hopes her costumes will serve as a reminder of the contributions African American heroes of the past and present have made to this country and how it continues to influence us today. 

"The main takeaway is the same as it's been for years that Black history is American history and it should be discussed as often any history is taught," she said. "It shouldn't be relegated to one month and it shouldn't be relegated to just a class on African American history. it should be interwoven between all the African American courses."

Burton said she will continue to dress up as historical African American figures as long as she can.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.