Black History Month at Tooty Tots

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Tooty Tot’s held their Black History Month Program at the event center at Pearly Brown Music Park. A multi-colored balloon display formed a crescent haloing a sash with the words Black History Month above the stage where the children were about to perform. A back to the 80s banner fronted the Silky Smooth DJs, while Emcee Rich P, dressed in overalls, a yellow tee-shirt, red sunglasses and beads, energetically introduced the Black History Month Program. Rich P impressed the importance of remembering the positive accomplishments of so many honored by black history month and not just their struggles. “Some of the people you are going to meet today are inventors and politicians,” Rich P declared, introducing the theme, where children played the role of different historical figures they wanted to honor.Ashiah Williams took the stage, proudly declaring “Hi, my name is Ashiah Williams, and I am black history!”

Chantrell Hall performed a graceful tribute dance for Harriet Tubman, renowned underground railroad leader who rescued slaves in 1850.

The first group of children were introduced, known as the one-steppers, who are one year old. Held by adults, bells rung to the beat of drums as they honored William Richardson, a baby carriage inventor. The two-steppers, two-year-olds, also honored Tubman, chanting that she was a leader and preforming a song. nThe three-steppers arrived, consisting of three and four years olds. They honored Thomas Marshal, fire extinguisher inventor. President Barack Obama was another honored figure, as was Garret Morgan, inventor of the traffic light.

After the three steppers performed, Aubrey Tymes recited the poem “Hey Black Child,” by Useni E. Perkins, encouraging black children to live up to their potential and believe in themselves.
Afterward Dot McCray sang a tribute song to Martin Luther King. The Sowega Peace Drummers, based in Americas, performed West African drumming, with a rousing beat that became increasingly lively as the songs progressed. They explained how the first song was a song of welcome, and another was a courtship song.

Raheem Hampton sang a soulful rendition of A Change is Gonna Come. His grandmother quietly pointed him out from the spectators. His song was followed by a resounding declaration by Jackie Holmes that “The change has come!” after noting all those gathered to honor black history.

Dot McCray sang another deeply soul-filled gospel song titled Return No More. Following the song, everyone was invited to dance to a song titled Hold On. A small girl in the audience with beaded hair faithfully took pictures of the dancers, while a woman among the spectators held a bouquet of sunflowers. The saxophone player’s music drifted cheerily over the dancing children, as take-home dinner plates were readied for departing parents.

The owner of Tooty Tots, Jackie Holmes, gave an interview. She has been active in daycare for 24 years and traces her passion for children to babysitting as a young girl. Holmes stated that she has taken care of children who now have children in her care. She was the first African American to open two day care locations in the County, and her daycare was the first in the County to receive a three star rating, the highest a daycare can receive.