Thursday, May 19, 2016

La Cima Charter School Tour of Luxembourg Garden - A First for Entrée to Black Paris Tours!

It's great to be back to blogging again!

Since the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition closed in mid-March, I've been on a mission to "take the show on the road".

Click here to find out how you can help!


A few weeks ago, Entrée to Black Paris had the immense pleasure of providing our Luxembourg Garden tour to 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds from La Cima Charter School in Brooklyn. It was the first time that ETBP has given a guided walking tour to participants of such a young age!

La Cima Charter School Scholars and Chaperones at the Luxembourg Garden
© Discover Paris!

Executive Director Tara Phillips contacted us to ask whether we could give the La Cima scholars a guided tour that would complement the students' curriculum. Our initial response was that we don't provide tours for students less than 14 years of age.

Director Phillips responded immediately by informing us that La Cima's vision as a school is to "develop scholars who have the intellectual capacity, social capital and the emotional strength of character to be change makers in their communities" and that their curriculum "encourages students to grapple with difficult issues when it comes to being Black in America, both from historical and current perspectives." She told us that the article they were given to read in preparation for the trip was Thomas Chatterton Williams' story in the premier issue of Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly: "Is Paris Still a Haven for Black Americans?"

ETBP's "Black History in and Around the Luxembourg Garden" was the perfect tour for the group. It provided an idyllic setting to discuss many aspects of race relations - past and present - in France and to compare them with race relations in the U.S. Among the topics presented were the Loi Taubira (which declares slavery and the slave trade crimes against humanity); the outstanding political legacy of French Guiana's native son, Gaston Monnerville; and the Paris experiences of African-American artists Loïs Mailou Jones and Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Bust of Gaston Monnerville
© Discover Paris!

The students were delightfully attentive and had opportunities to associate topics from the tour with various subjects they were studying at home.

Executive Director Tara Phillips and Monique Y. Wells
© Discover Paris!

Phillips had the following to say about the tour:

We learned about the Entrée to Black Paris tour from the US Embassy. Monique came highly recommended and accommodated us with a well-tailored tour for our group. Our group included 12 5th graders and 7 adult chaperones from a charter school in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

We wanted the tour to be relevant to things our scholars have studied, including the experiences of Black Americans in Paris and other institutions that impact Black people around the globe. The tour met our expectations and we all learned a great deal about France’s role in the slave trade, famous Black American artists and writers who lived in Paris and several Black political leaders in Paris and their impact on government.

Students and chaperones alike enjoyed the tour. It definitely broadened all of our knowledge about the city and there were relevant connections made to our own lives in New York City.

Read Executive Director Phillips' entire testimonial here.


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