“They’re working on their family trees and connections between them and their parents and getting students to think about their DNA,” Higgs said. “Half of it comes from their mother and half from their father, and quarter of it from their grandparents,” he said. “And it’s also that connection between them and their great-grandparents.”
Higgs said it would be difficult to trace their ancestry back to the early 1600s, but “the reality is that that DNA gets passed along from generation to generation.”
“Over that time, that amount of DNA gets diluted … but still you can still see family resemblances at times,” he said. “Sometimes, you’ll have within a family two siblings who may look very different, but within that diversity, you can still see that family relationship.”
Engaging parentsOrinthia Adams, whose son Owen is in Bell-Myers’ class, was interested in finding out about connections to the past.
“After speaking to Ms. Bell-Myers … I was very interested in finding out how much distinguished black industry that we do have. A lot of information that we get is solely based off of the impression that we get that black people have gone through oppression and the suffering. But we don’t really get to bask in the richness of the culture.
“So realistically I just wanted to learn more to be able to teach my children because I have kids of all different ages. I want to be able to have a conversation with them and maybe learn together,” she said. “Honestly, you hear about a lot of the same people. It’s difficult to get information on other very distinguished and very intelligent, ground-breaking and innovative black people. As a millennial myself with children who are millennials and further, it’s easy to fall into the trap of pop culture and only know the notable athletes.”
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