This Teacher Showed Out For Her School’s Black History Month Door Decorating Contest

February 28, 2018  |  
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This Black History Month was particularly lit, wasn’t it? With Black Panther and other manner of Black Excellence, this was one for the record books.

If you went to a school that acknowledged Black History Month, you might have had display boards that celebrated the month. But I doubt any of us have ever seen anything like what Kimberly Tatuem, a History and American Government educator for Baltimore Public Schools, created.

Tatum crafted a Black woman with a large, three dimensional afro, made of construction paper. The woman was wearing an outfit featuring legendary figures in Black History.

If you’re wondering how students were able to enter and exit the room, it was indeed possible and no curls were damaged in the process.

In an interview with Urban Girl Mag, Tatuem said that the principal announced a school wide competition for the best Black History Month door decorating contest.

Tatuem said she wanted her design to not only commemorate the month but to empower the female students.

“Our principal announced that we were having a door decorating contest for Black History Month.  I am a competitive person so I really wanted to do my best so that my door could win.  Plus, I hate to lose and I am a little bit extra (LOL).  We are also working hard to raise the self-esteem of our female population. I figured that everyone would be doing flat door cover decorations, and I wanted my door to stand out.  My husband always has supported my art so he suggested I think outside of the box. So, I thought, what can I put on it to make it look three-dimensional, and then I thought about her hair.”

Naturally, Tatuem won the competition. She said she can’t take all of the credit for her success though.

“My students were amazed and proud.  They helped a lot as they were the ones who rolled all of her hair.  When I came into school the next day after the post went viral and was shared on sites such as The Shade Room, Black Wall Street, Power 105.1 and Motown Records, as well as liked by a number of celebrities, my students were so excited and proud.  I saw in them a renewed sense of pride in themselves, their abilities, their city, and their school.  It became much more than a contest because after that I wasn’t concerned about the prize because their reaction was reward enough.”

While Tatuem didn’t create the door for national recognition, it certainly contributed positively to her morale.

“I was definitely shocked. I just posted it to be funny because in my original post I said “When you have to decorate your door for Black History month and the best door wins a prize.”  I was excited to see that it went viral and inspired others.  The comments were enough to bring a person to tears.  Things such as I wish this was my school and I wish my daughter could walk through a door like this at her school and so on. It was also encouraging for me being that I drive 100 plus miles a day to come teach them, because I truly care about my students. Like most teachers some days I feel like I  want to give up and I feel  under-appreciated,  so it lifted my spirits too!”

Tatuem hopes the increased attention for her work will eventually translate for more funding for Baltimore Public schools.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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