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Huntsville fourth-graders learn local history

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Hundreds of fourth-graders from Huntsville City Schools were immersed in some of the city's rich African-American history on Wednesday.

The students went to Glenwood Cemetery, where they got to hear from impersonators of historical figures like Samuel Lowery, who was the first black lawyer to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I hope the students take away what it was like, coming up in the 1800s as an African-American," said impersonator Jonathan Snodgrass, who portrayed Lowery.

The students also went to the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial at the site of the old Cavalry Hills School on Poplar Avenue, where they also got to watch reenactments of historical figures like the Buffalo Soldiers, who came to Huntsville to heal after the war in the year 1898.

"It became Calvary Hill after the Buffalo Soldiers 10th Cavalry was encamped here after the Spanish-American War," said Kim Huskey with Huntsville City Schools' Earthscope Environmental Education department.

"These were former enslaved people who came here to recuperate," said retired principal Ollye B. Conley. For her, the history there is personal.

"A relative of my family came here to set up the encampment," she said. "His name was Paswell Conley."

Just like her ancestors made their mark, she hopes students will be inspired to leave their own mark on history.

"If we continue to work together as a people, we can do anything," Conley said.

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