In an effort to bring awareness to students about Black history, LaToya McGriff, a first-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School in Suffolk VA,  decided to dress up as prominent figures from the past for the entire Black History Month. 

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In a statement, McGriff who is also apart of the Black History Committee says this idea was a way to expose the students to black people who they may not be familiar with. 

“It’s kind of bringing history alive for the kids and it sparks curiosity. Once they’re curious about something, that sparks learning. So, they can ask me stuff throughout the day or see me in the hall walking because I’ll stay dressed up all day, she said.  “They’ll say ‘Oh, you’re the teacher that’s dressed up.’ And they may tell me some facts that I didn’t know about that person or they may ask me something about that person.”


McGriff  who teaches at a majority-black school wanted students to see that Black people are successful and do a lot that benefits the world, she says, “I wanted them to see that people who look like them contribute.”

McGriff dressed as Arthur Ashe. Ashe was the first African-American to win titles at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the U.S. Open, singer Ella Fitzgerald and even some notable people in the community of Suffolk which included Florence Bowser, an educator, and community activist and Mack Benn Jr., the first African-American superintendent in Suffolk Public Schools.