• Ethan Smolinksi, 12, a seventh-grade student from Smith Middle School studies information about Dr. Walden, a black inventor. As part of the exhibit, youth were asked to write information and interesting facts about at least five of the inventors.

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    Ethan Smolinksi, 12, a seventh-grade student from Smith Middle School studies information about Dr. Walden, a black inventor. As part of the exhibit, youth were asked to write information and interesting facts about at least five of the inventors.

  • Kiyanna Cage-Evans, 13, a seventh-grade student from Smith Middle School examines an exhibit about Gwendolyn Randall, who was a nurse, as part of The Black Inventors Exhibit, "Dreams to Reality"."I think it is important to learn our history," Cage-Evans said of the experience.

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    Kiyanna Cage-Evans, 13, a seventh-grade student from Smith Middle School examines an exhibit about Gwendolyn Randall, who was a nurse, as part of The Black Inventors Exhibit, "Dreams to Reality"."I think it is important to learn our history,"...

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz--Middle school-aged youth from various schools visited the fort\'s youth center on Feb. 10 and 11 to learn some fascinating history through The Black Inventors Exhibit: "Dreams to Reality".

"'Dreams to Reality', helps youth learn that many everyday items such as the comb, streetlight and mop were invented by African-Americans, and often under extremely stressful conditions," said Michelle Taylor-Frazier, founder and owner of the exhibit.

Taylor-Frazier initially designed it in 2001 as a means to assist "her children to learn about the contributions of black inventors." The exhibit has now been displayed in cities nationwide, including the DuSable Museum of African American History, in Chicago.

The youth center has sponsored the exhibit's visit to the fort for the last five years.

"It is important to ensure that as many kids as possible get to view the exhibit, and benefit from learning from it," said Richard Brown, director, Youth and Teen Center, adding "What is unique is that it showcases important people that many of our kids may not have heard of, while paying tribute to the accomplishments of our great American inventors."

Brown first heard about "Dreams to Reality" when it was being showcased at a local school, and his organization realized that they could expand on the effectiveness of the presentation by offering a larger venue and increased participation.

"The youth services staff seized the opportunity to make the display public to all by hosting it in the Youth Center," Brown said. "In two days we had over 500 kids visit, from the Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools, Charter Schools, and Huachuca City Schools."

Taylor-Frazier hopes the kids walked away with a better insight into African American history, and also an underlying message "that they can accomplish their goals, whatever they are, as long as they are willing to work hard enough."

The Youth Center is located in Building 49013, Cushing Avenue, and is open Monday through Thursday from "after school" to 8 p.m., Friday until 9 p.m., and Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m.

Page last updated Mon February 22nd, 2010 at 10:35