Step by step, row by row, more than 400 Georgetown High School students and a handful of teachers and adults on Friday took a trip back into the history of African-Americans.
The groups were visitors to the Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels. Angela Jennings, who owns and curates the exhibit tracing the African-American experience from slavery to the Black Lives Matter movement, led the students on their visit. The museum was set up on long tables in the high school gym.
Students were awed by some of the inventions of African-Americans, while other items, including such everyday equipment as the rubber door wedge, drew shrugs. Osbourn Dorsey is credited with the door wedge as well as the doorknob.
For the Rev. Karon Jackson, pastor of New Zion Church in Lake City and a staff member at Georgetown High School, the exhibit hit home.
“To actually see the things we read about gives them much more meaning,” Jackson said.
“I wasn’t expecting too much,” said Juan Trejo, a student. “But I learned a great deal.”
Trejo said he was especially moved by the photos of public lynchings.
“I had read about it, but to see it was so much worse,” he said.
“It seems pretty brutal,” said Georgetown High School sophomore Hamer Morris.
Jennings said their reactions were similar to the responses she receives as she travels the country with her exhibit.
In addition to the photos in the exhibit, there were shackles -- including a neck shackle made for an infant -- a miniature replica of the inside of a slave ship, notices of escaped slaves and coverage of the Obama years at the White House.
“It is all part of the African-American experience,” said Jennings as she led a group of students on a tour.
Jennings spends about 200 days a year on the road, sharing her museum with communities throughout the United States. She was heading to Virginia after the daylong stopover in Georgetown.