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Black Student Union educates classmates on lesser known influential Black figures. 

COURTESY PHOTO: LAKE OSWEGO SCHOOL DISTRICT - Members of the Black Student Union celebrated the history of Black Americans. Members of the Black Student Union at Lake Oswego High School celebrated Black History Month by educating their classmates on influential Black figures.

Black History Month, celebrated annually during February, is intended to honor the key role Black Americans have played in U.S history and current events. Throughout February, the Black Student Union extended knowledge of influential Black figures by decorating the LOHS hallways with educational posters and other decorations.

The union was originally inspired by the school's Asian American Student Union, which decorated the school at the start of February to celebrate Lunar New Year.

"We were very impressed by how beautiful it looked with the posters, the lanterns. We thought: 'Hey this is our senior year, let's go out with a bang. Let's do something really big for Black History Month too,'" said Julia Bohannon, member of BSU

Alongside another union member, Bohannon spent 18 hours preparing and designing posters. Then on Friday, Feb. 4, members of the BSU decorated the school.

Each hallway in the high school is adorned with at least one poster presenting a historical Black figure. The students catered posters depending on the location — they placed scientists in the science hallways or athletes around the school's gyms. The students also decorated the main hallway with a large portrait of Angela Davis, a political activist and author.

The students wrote down the historical context of the person and why they were an influential part of history.

The posters also educate others about influential people straying from the normal faces that represent Black History Month.

"When you learn about Black history, all you really learn about is slavery and the negative sides of our history and you talk about the same three people: Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X," said Bohannon. "It's important to know other faces and other names because they had large contributions to the Black community in our history as well."

Another union member painted inspirational messages like "Black Lives Matter" and "Black students should feel welcome in the school" on the front windows.

"A lot of students were impressed that we pulled it off as fast as we did," Bohannon said. "A lot loved (the window designs) for how bright it made the hallways look, because we have a lot of windows that shine in on them and it really complemented everything."

The students also plan to put together a video presentation that showcases the stories of people of color in the high school like students, teachers and other staff members.

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