Changing how we learn about Black History Month: featuring Mr. Lange

Mr. David Lange stands in front of his student interactive bulletin board, located outside of room 149.

Courtesy of Jim Slonoff/The Hinsdalean

Mr. David Lange stands in front of his student interactive bulletin board, located outside of room 149.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Hinsdale Central’s very own Mr. David Lange, English department chair, was featured in The Hinsdalean for his outstanding work engaging kids and generating thoughtful discussions for Black History Month. He helped promote an interactive bulletin board displayed outside of room 249 that featured quotes, stories, and hidden truths. 

Lange explained that the idea was actually created through conversations with a few different people and even a misunderstanding. It all started with Mrs. Terry Bruns, former secretary of the English department, who now is employed at Hinsdale South. Bruns had the idea to create a bulletin board in Hinsdale South’s math department that included a silhouette of Ruby Bridges, a Black civil rights activist, surrounded by quotes from and about her. 

Lange found out about this through Mr. Ted Bruns, Terry’s husband and a long-term substitute teacher at Central. Ted had been reading two different civil rights books and wanted to include quotes from them too. 

“I was speaking to Mr. Rasavongxay, the social studies department chair, because he’s integral with S.O.A.R. and other student groups about this…and I misheard one of the words he said, and heard it as ‘student interactive’ and I was like ‘That’s a great idea,’’’ Lange said. 

So, he put together all three ideas and created a board which had one-pagers about different events in Black history. 

“All of them are representative of bigger things and more challenging things about black history,” Lange said. “So problems of equality in the justice system or the healthcare system or education and the last one is the economy…each one that I put together was here’s the story that we all know…but there’s a lot more to it.”

From what we can tell, the students really enjoyed this refreshing perspective.

“I felt glad Hinsdale Central was bringing their students attention to more Black advocates and not just sticking in the Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, etc. realm,” said Julianne Roberts, senior. “It made me glad to feel more informed about other people.”

A Black History Month banner features an image helping to tell the story of the past. (Courtesy of Pixabay)

All signs point towards the board being a big success. Lange said that he got over 150 responses from all grade levels over the course of the month.

“Students spoke with passion and in depth about how they feel about things and a lot of students here are inspired by making a change and being part of a solution and fixing the world but also people who feel a kinship to people in the civil rights movement,” Lange said.

Furthermore, several teachers in the building have reached out to Lange already to do something similar for Women’s History Month and other important topics. Additionally, he has had requests from teachers from other schools to come look at the board.

“It was very interesting learning about the parts of Black history that I didn’t know before. I think the idea was a great one and everyone should at least read one article about Black history,” said Kendall Griffin, senior. 

Overall, this board definitely made an impact on both students, and how we will discuss similar topics in the future. It’s important to know and understand the truths that are often glossed over when our history is retold and through his great work Lange is providing us with the tools we need to do just that.