AC Prep Scholars Remember Rich African History

“Our History Before Slavery” celebrates African history before trans-Atlantic slavery


At African-Centered College Preparatory Academy (AC Prep), scholars focus on college readiness as well as the rich history of African and African-American people and culture. During September, scholars dug into a month-long study of “Our History Before Slavery.”

Throughout the month, scholars learned about the Songhai Empire, the empire of Mali, the Zulu Empire and many others. As both the birthplace of humanity and the cradle of early civilizations that made many amazing contributions to the world, Africa was home to expansive gold mining and international trading systems, highly-developed societies with complex governments and dominating, wealthy and powerful empires.

“The purpose of the study was to share with our scholars the glorious pre-slavery history of African empires and kingdoms,” AC Prep Principal Claire Thornton-Poke said. “Often, the study of African history starts at slavery, but there’s 5,000 years before that period to consider. It’s important to take the time to study and celebrate that history.”

As part of the program, students in kindergarten through fifth grades created dioramas featuring African kings and queens, depicting their impact on history. Displayed in the front hallway of the school, five finalists were chosen along with one winner.


Congratulations to Primary and Diorama Winners:

  • First Place – Victoria Pate, 2nd grade
  • Second Place – Anaya Henderson, 2nd grade
  • Third Place – Elijah Ellington, Kindergarten

Congratulations to Intermediate and Middle School Diorama Winners:

  • First Place – Solomon Naraine, 5th grade
  • Second Place – Saderra Gill, 6th grade
  • Third Place – Jasmah Hill, 3rd grade

Sixth through eighth grade scholars competed in an essay contest for the subject “My Favorite African King or Queen.” Congratulations to the winners:

  • First Place – Donzell Abraham, 6th grade “King Tut”
  • Second Place – Pamela McDonald, 7th grade “Queen Cleopatra”
  • Third Place – Cleveland Garrett, 8th grade “King Tut”

Scholars and professors celebrated the conclusion of the study with a salute and performance. The reflective program included:

  • Kindergarten – Kings and Queens
  • First Grade – Battle of Adwa
  • Second Grade – Story of King Sundiata
  • Third Grade – Who are Our Kings and Queens
  • Fourth Grade – West Afrikan Harvest Celebration
  • Fifth Grade – Caravan of Love
  • Middle School – Zulu Nation
  • Cultural Art – Celebrating Our Kingdoms

AC Prep will continue sharing African culture, history and values throughout the school year with its scholars, including Ancestor’s Day on Oct. 31, Kwanza Celebration on Dec. 15 and the Martin Luther King, Jr. speech contest in January.

For a list of upcoming events, visit the AC Prep calendar. To see more photos from the “Our History Before Slavery” assembly, visit KCPS Flickr page.