FVHS theater students host Black History Month poetry slam


Photo by Suzanne Quinn

Centered in the spotlight is chorus teacher Tyler Cole, who was among students and staff performing works by Black writers at the poetry slam.

Jace Gaddy, Staff Writer

For Black History Month, it is important to look back and honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area throughout history. This was Fuquay-Varina’s Theater 1 and 2 classes’ goal. By doing so, each student recited poetry from the Harlem Renaissance period, pieces from Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, etc. to express the hardship brought from this period in time. 

The Harlem Renaissance originated after the abolition of slavery in 1865, due to growing conflict around Europe, causing the start of WWI and new social changes in the north. The black community started moving North for jobs and new opportunities This in the long run created a new environment for African Americans with new music, art, poetry, and style. 

A poetry slam is a competition arts event in which poets perform spoken word poetry before a live audience. Ryan Seaman who recited ¨Tired¨ by Langston Hughes said, ¨My poem was about how society as a whole is getting worse and that the best way to find the best part of it is to dissect it one by one and find the issues to solve and create peace within our society again.”

 Seaman’s poem showed the importance of this time period and the world that Hughes was looking at through his eyes during that time period.  

Another FVHS junior Jeremy Bush also participated in the Slam as well. ¨I recited ‘Alone’ by Maya Angelou,” he said. “The assignment was fun, and it was interesting reading through poems I haven’t seen before and trying to learn the true meaning of what they are saying.  It really shows another side of history for students to learn about.” 

This learning experience was not only for the theatre students themselves but for the audience as well. ¨This Poetry Slam was such a fun and informative way for students to understand more about Black History Month,” Sophie Behrendt, an FVHS student in the audience of the poetry slam, said. “Being in the theatre watching these performances made my day. The quiet theater, lights on just one person, and beautifully spoken art of past influencers made it a perfect scene that everyone should try out in their lifetime. It was a 10/10 experience.”

Click here to see a video of FVHS students performing works by Black poets at the poetry slam.