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Showing Off the Past: Marshall Junior High kids delve into history at fair

By Bridget Ortigo
Jan. 12, 2018 at 4 a.m.

Marshall Junior High School sixth graders Julius Johnson, right, and Cameron Hall, left, look at Johnson's social studies project  about segregation on Thursday at the school's library.

Marshall Junior High School's Library is full of historical research projects and exhibits as the school's sixth, seventh and eighth graders presented 131 social studies projects of their choosing on Thursday as part of the district's annual History Fair.

The fair runs in conjunction with National History Day and the Harrison County Historical Society's History Fair, which is set for Jan. 27.

More than half a million U.S. students participate in National History Day each year, which seeks to help students learn critical thinking, problem solving, research and reading skills, along with building their self-esteem and confidence.

This year's national and local theme for the fair is "Conflict and Compromise in History."

"The students had to select a topic of their choosing based on that theme and present it in a manner of an exhibit, documentary or performance," Marshall ISD Instructional Coordinator Shirley Fletcher said Thursday. "These students put forth a lot of effort to look at historical topics critically and present a project."

Marshall Junior High School's students presented exhibits and projects about historical issues ranging from the Mexican Revolution, the Holocaust and Auschwitz, the Alamo, Y.A. Tittle, World War I, segregation, the Eleventh Texas Cavalry and the Caddo Indians to sports and the Underground Railroad.

Many projects also centered around local historical landmarks such as the Paramount Theater, Wiley College, the Marshall Fire Department, East Texas Baptist University and the Old Powder Mill Cemetery.

"My project is called 'Separate is Not Equal' and it's about segregation," Marshall Junior High School sixth grader Julius Johnson said Thursday.

"I looked at the history of segregation and how it affected Marshall and the nation, as well as Marshall schools. I found that a lot of black people during that time were not allowed to go to school and didn't have the same education as white people. They also had the literacy tests and poll taxes to keep black people from voting."

A panel of judges made of volunteers and Marshall ISD staff judged the 131 projects that were on display in the school's library on Thursday, and winners will be announced today.

"We will have first-, second- and third-place winners in each category," Fletcher said. "Those winners will advance to compete with their projects at the Harrison County Historical Society's History Fair on Jan. 27."

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