A middle school math teacher from Mississippi had a special lesson on her syllabus in honor of Black History Month.
Jovan Bradshow who teaches at the Magnolia Middle School in Moss Point, borrowed words from author and poet Reverend Nadine Drayton-Keen to greet her students with an empowering message.
She put the message on yellow paper that covered the door to highlight Drayton-Keen's words of wisdom.
"Dear students, They didn't steal slaves..."
"They stole scientists, doctors, architects, teachers, entrepreneurs, astronomers, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc. and they made them slaves. Sincerely, your ancestors."
Bradshaw, who's worked for the Moss Point middle school for six years, posted a picture of her inspirational sign to challenge perceptions about slavery on Facebook and captioned it:
"Stay dropping knowledge."
Her powerful post has since amassed over 106K shares on Facebook alone.
I can't tweet this enough times. Jovan Bradshaw is a wonderful teacher. https://t.co/bGgZ0KyXYw— LadyL RN ☀️🇺🇸 (@LadyL RN ☀️🇺🇸)1549900536.0
A discussion about slavery in class prompted Bradshaw's detour from teaching multiplication and division.
She told WLBT News:
"It all started with this little boy in my class. We were talking and he said, 'Slaves didn't do much because they couldn't read or write.' He kinda caught me off guard.'"
She set the record straight with a compelling analogy.
"I said, 'Baby, if I snatched you up and dropped you off in China or Germany or Africa even, you wouldn't be able to read and write their language either. Does that make you useless or any less educated?'"
@LadyLecondoliak Thank god their are teachers like her ✊🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👊🏾— Kizzoner (@Kizzoner)1550001629.0
So powerful. Letting all kids know that Black History is not defined solely by nor starts with slavery. TY Jovan Br… https://t.co/GnVS92o33r— Omolara Uwemedimo MD, MPH (@Omolara Uwemedimo MD, MPH)1550319186.0
Yasss - thanks teacher Jovan Bradshaw!! Magnolia Middle School - Moss Point, MS https://t.co/6T1STZykGx— iamchasisty (@iamchasisty)1549986594.0
Today's Black History lesson is brought to you by my cousin, Jovan Bradshaw. She is dropping some serious knowledge… https://t.co/iEq8Orm2XZ— Sonya Goins (@Sonya Goins)1549985499.0
Bradshaw didn't expect her post would go viral.
"I would have used a ruler if I knew the world was going to see my door," she told Today.
"The response is amazing. I'm so thankful that God chose me to deliver such a powerful message. I wanted to shift my students' mindset about slavery and the message has reached far more than I ever imagined."
"I chose this message because I wanted to reach all of my students and being a math teacher, my history and self-awareness time is limited. This was a way to reach all of my students. My door speaks for itself and I can keep teaching equations."
Other schools were inspired to celebrate black history month with their own moving imagery and messages.
Also at KIPP DC Valor Academy. #BlackHistoryMonth https://t.co/DOzXJzBOJ8— Aaryn Confronting Racism Everyday Belfer (@Aaryn Confronting Racism Everyday Belfer)1550132141.0
The Smith Neighborgood Library in Houston is off the damb chain with this goddess. #BlackHistoryMonth https://t.co/KJKvrw6IsH— Aaryn Confronting Racism Everyday Belfer (@Aaryn Confronting Racism Everyday Belfer)1550132143.0
Washington DC-based teacher and author of #crunchylifebooks @Mourningknows created this magnificence. @Kaepernick7,… https://t.co/IPX8o7xFl3— Aaryn Confronting Racism Everyday Belfer (@Aaryn Confronting Racism Everyday Belfer)1550132146.0
Bradshaw wanted to remind her black students of their ancestry consisting of driven and courageous individuals.
"So many of our African-American students don't know where they come from. All they are taught is slavery, the servitude side only."
"They need to know that we were great long before slavery. We built a country with our blood, sweat and tears, and the strength of our ancestors is why they can be great today."
"You have to see people who look like you contributing to society, and the African contribution is left out at school. I teach math, but I'm woke and I plan on waking up every student that comes through the halls of MMS."
This is important for all black people to know. I remember being in school and all we heard was the fact that at on… https://t.co/K1cv7vxRgn— ambitious__writer (@ambitious__writer)1549981561.0
She aspires to help her African American students by giving them "a deeper understanding of self."
On a larger scale, Bradshaw ultimately wants to develop a consulting firm to assist other school districts in setting up a curriculum to motivate each student to reach their fullest potential.
Bradshaw started a GoFundMe fundraiser, called, "Stay Dropping Knowledge," so she could take her students on fields trips to places like Black History Museum in Hattiesburg, MS and the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, LA to inspire them.
Click here to support Stay Dropping Knowledge organized by Jovan Bradshaw https://t.co/AeuhiLT3Fw— Alvin Mitchell (@Alvin Mitchell)1550156383.0
"Our youth could be so much more if they just felt good about themselves and where they come from," she wrote on her campaign page.
"I want my kids to be exposed to different experiences."