Godby students share experience of attending opening of African American museum in D.C.

By: Lanetra Bennett
September 22, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The National Museum of African American History and Culture was 13 years in the making.

It was well worth the hour and a half wait in line. "Everybody was anxious to get inside, definitely," said 12th grader Christian Boyd.

Frankie Glover, a 12th grade student, said, "When we finally got in there, it was a breath of fresh air. It was, wow."

Boyd and Glover are members of Tallahassee's Godby High School Young Gentlemen's mentoring Club. The group rode a charter bus to Washington, D.C. to be there for the historic grand opening of the museum last Saturday.

"It was like, we are some of the first people to see this. So, it was kind of surreal," Glover said.

The students toured the five-acre site filled with more than 3,000 artifacts.

Glover said, "It was really grand. It's huge. There's lower levels. It's not just what's on top. The way it's set up, it goes up. The levels go up in chronological order. So, at the bottom, it starts with slavery and then as it progresses higher, it goes up to different events in history."

Tenth grade student, Chockere Hairston, said, "I learned a lot about my past. It makes me think about all the things that they struggled with in life and stuff that they went through, all the slavery and stuff. It just makes me now want to do better."

Also while on their four-day trip in D.C., the 46 students toured the monuments, local colleges, and Arlington National Park, where they paid tribute to one of Godby's fallen soldiers, SPC Robert Allen Wise.

Boyd said, "I truly feel blessed for being able to go on this trip, because a lot of people don't even leave the state of Florida. They're not able to. So, I'm extremely grateful, extremely blessed."

By: Lanetra Bennett
September 22, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The only national museum devoted exclusively to African American life, history, and culture opens this weekend in Washington, D.C. 

A group of young men from Godby High School will be there.

46 students are leaving the halls of Godby High School to enter the hallways of their ancestors' past.

"I feel ecstatic, really.  This is a real good opportunity for me," said 16-year-old Justin Goston-Brownlee.

The Amos P. Godby Young Gentlemen's Club will attend the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Justin said, "I think it's important.  In American, African Americans, they went through a lot and they introduced a lot."
40,000 artifacts were donated to the museum. 3,000 artifacts will be on display.  The artifacts are from slavery to present day.

Justin said, "You have outstanding people that's well-deserved of being in a museum."
These young men are also well deserving of attending the museum.
The Gentlemen's Club is a mentoring program that exposes male students to opportunities they may not otherwise get.  The sponsor, Godby teacher Tyneal Haywood, said, "I've had teachers sending me emails saying, I've noticed a change in this young man.  They've also referred different gentlemen to me.  We've seen a turnaround in some of those young men."

Jalen McClees, 16, said, "Mr. Haywood, he's always on me.  He's always on me kind of like my dad.  My dad is the same way.  He teaches me to be the best person that you can and learn how to be a man."
The young men will be among thousands welcoming the Smithsonian Institution's 19th and newest museum.

"I'm ready for D.C.  Obama, I'd love to meet you!" Jalen said.

Jalen just may get that wish.  The club plans to go to the White House while in D.C.  They'll be at the museum's grand opening on Saturday, and will also go on a college tour.

They left for D.C. Thursday afternoon and will return late Monday.

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