John Han­son stu­dent wows with Rosa Parks project

Sev­enth grader’s 3-D dis­play gets per­fect score in school com­pe­ti­tion

Maryland Independent - - News - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­ Twit­ter: @JamieACIndyNews

A life-size pic­ture of Rosa Parks hold­ing a slate with her ar­rest num­ber, taken from her 1955 book­ing, stands within a 6-foot, three-di­men­sional pri­son — a stark re­minder of the civil rights hero­ine’s ar­rest for re­fus­ing to give her bus seat to a white pas­sen­ger.

The im­age, ac­cen­tu­ated with an ac­tual pair of wire rim glasses, is part of John Han­son Mid­dle School sev­enth grader Trin­ity Small­wood’s His­tory Day project, which re­ceived a per­fect score in the school’s HITS (His­tory, In­dus­try, Tech­nol- ogy and Science) Expo Tues­day.

Trin­ity’s project is one of six top con­tenders se­lected to con­tinue on to the Charles County HITS Expo, sched­uled for March 18 at St. Charles High School.

Trin­ity, 12, said she was in­spired to do her project on Parks be­cause her mother met the civil rights ac­tivist once as a young girl, when Parks vis­ited her mother’s church.

“I liked the fact that she fought for equal rights for every­one,” Trin­ity said.

Trin­ity said she worked for two months, re­search­ing Parks and con­struct- ing the dis­play, made out of card­board and wood.

“I used the Li­brary of Congress web­site, they had a lot of in­for­ma­tion on there, and some of the pic­tures are from Google, and I used books from my school li­brary,” Trin­ity said. “To build the jail, it took about two weeks.”

Trin­ity said she came up with the idea of con­struct­ing the jail af­ter see­ing the pic­ture of Parks’ mugshot. She said she put it to­gether with as­sis­tance from her mother.

“I saw her mugshot and I thought that would be cool to put it into a jail that I could fit into,” Trin­ity said.

She said that in the course of do­ing her re­search, she learned there are many mis­con­cep­tions about Parks.

“I liked to learn the full story. A lot of peo­ple think she was sit­ting in the front of the bus, but that wasn’t true,” Trin­ity said. “She was sit­ting in the first row of the black sec­tion, and when a white pas­sen­ger re­mained stand­ing, she was asked to move, and she re­fused.”

On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks was ar­rested in Mont- gomery, Ala., af­ter re­fus­ing to give up her seat in the col­ored sec­tion of the bus to a white pas­sen­ger af­ter the white sec­tion was filled. Seat­ing on buses was seg­re­gated by race, with pref­er­ence giv- en to white pas­sen­gers.

Parks’ ar­rest spawned the Mont­gomery Bus Boy­cott, an event which helped launch the civil rights move­ment of the 1950s and 1960s and brought an end to le­gal­ized seg­re­ga­tion in the South.

Trin­ity’s dis­play also in­cludes copies of let­ters Parks wrote.

Trin­ity’s social stud­ies teacher, Vic­to­ria Davenport, said Trin­ity’s project is one of the best projects she’s ever seen.

“It is a lot of great re­search. One of the things that I like about it is, yes, it’s pretty, but it’s not just pretty, it ac­tu­ally has good re­search — she did an his­tor­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and proved her th­e­sis, which is what the project is all about. She has learned to do col­lege- and ca­reer-ready re­search,” Davenport said.

Trin­ity said she hopes peo­ple come away from view­ing her project with a de­sire to learn more about Parks.

“I hope they get the full story, be­cause there’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion out there that isn’t told, a lot of stuff,” Trin­ity said.


John Han­son Mid­dle School sev­enth grader Trin­ity Small­wood shows some of the fea­tures of her social stud­ies project for the school’s His­tory, In­dus­try, Tech­nol­ogy and Science (HITS) Expo Tues­day.

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