African-American Living History Day at Joaquin Miller School

Students dressed to reflect 40’s era clothing. This includes WWII military wear, Fashion from the 40’s, Rosie the Riveter clothing or traditional African dress.

Joaquin Miller Elementary School 4th Grade students, faculty and parent volunteers will celebrate the 20th Annual African-American Living History Day with a day-long celebration on Friday, May 18. The events at the school, located at 5525 Ascot Drive in Oakland, are the culmination of several weeks of classroom instruction on the lives, culture and contributions of African Americans in California beginning with the migration to the West during World War II. The project is led by fourth grade teachers and event founder Joyce Melton, a retired Joaquin Miller teacher, and the school’s resource specialist, JoAnne Cooper-Campbell, To prepare for African American Living History Day, students are learning about the second Great Migration, the period of time between 1940 and 1970, reading from various sources including “The Great Migration” by Jacob Lawrence and “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson. Students are also benefiting from the knowledge of parent volunteers who have expertise in music, crafts, cooking and storytelling from this time period, all designed to help students understand the impact World War II had on African-Americans and their decisions to come to California. The celebration is designed as a walk back in time so students can experience the music, dance, quilting, mask making, cooking, and games of the era. The fourth graders, faculty and parents are encouraged to wear clothing that was typical in 1940s California. African American Living History Day is one in a series of living history day curriculum projects at Joaquin Miller. Every year, students at each grade level learn through the celebration of a specific historical era. For information contact Meryl Jackson at or Sara Ricks at
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