Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School

The Parkland History Project has partnered with some young Louisville historians. Fifth graders at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School created totem poles and wrote poems engaging the topic of the 1968 Parkland Uprising. Each student group chose a community member or activist interviewed by the Parkland History Project oral history collection and constructed a totem dedicated to their life, activism, and community efforts. The corresponding poems shed light on the many struggles, hopes, and dreams each activist faced and still faces in their pursuit of social equality.


Pictured here is the community celebration of the students’ efforts in commemorating the May 1968 Parkland Uprising, when the students recited their poems to the crowd and describing their individual totems.  We have reprinted selected poems here:


Merv Aubespin

All I want is for somebody to have a better life.

All I want is for somebody to have equal rights.

All I want is for somebody to learn about Black American History.

All I want is for somebody to tell truths.


Cheri Bryant Hamilton

These are the symbols of Cheri Bryant Hamilton.



The heart- learning from the past.

The infinity symbol- living on forever.

The peace sign- peace and tranquility.


For Cheri Bryant Hamilton

The NOT Happy Birthday by Jack Fritz


Cupcake in a chair

Uprising everywhere

The leaves of sanity

Are scattered.

Sadness, no time for

Celebration, as we’re at the core

of unrest.

NOT happy birthday.


The Future of Parkland

By Nikayla Thomas



Good Bright

Rebuilt Shine Fun

Revived Cared for Special

The bright future


Louisville ,



The future of Parkland

By Jeremy Metcalf


When you think about Parkland, what comes to your mind?

Killing, violence , seems like the sun wont’ shine.

The people that abandoned it, gave up on her.

Really don’t know that her legacy is far from over.


Parkland Uprising

By Jeremy Metcalf


Dark Dingy

Torn up Torn down

Given up on

Careless, Not yet forgotten

Future Bright Beautiful

Cared FOR remembered



Parkland Uprising

By Austin  James



Not cared

Really not cared

Starting to be cared

Finally cared for

Cared for



Parkland History

By Madison Glover



Money Rich

Houses Jobs Cars

Happy Filled Shopping Family

Peaceful Loving Dedication

Surprising Prestigious



Parkland Tornado



Gloomy scared

Big messy terrified

Destroyed swirly madness sadness

Torn the hearts

Gone forever



Parkland Uprising


My poem is about a cop car

Because when someone threw a soda can

In the yard , the cop car : reaction

That cop car – what I wanted is my message: let the “protect”  begin.


Bob Coleman



Strong Courageous

Educational hero leader

Smart fast trustworthy kind

Pride confident kindhearted

Stood Straight



Dr. King

By Aryah


Dr. King

Fearful Dreamful

Helpful Powerful Respectful

Kindful Braveful Cheerful

Hopeful Createful

Dr. King


ML King

by Justyce



Strong Brave

Honest Changer Believer

Trustworthy Peaceful Faithful Smart

Patient Pastor Future

Hero King



Ken Clay

By Nolan



Talkative Dramatic

Civil rights Changes for Poor Financial Power

Helper Leader Broke Rich Famous Industrious

Greatman Famous Truthful




Bob Cunningham

By Nolan


When people fight

They say STOP. We are not bad.

We are the same as everyone else.

People have feelings and don’t judge.

Don’t judge no one for their actions.

We have feelings.



In memory of James  and Mathias

May, 1968

By Treyton


All I want is somebody to stop disrespecting blacks.

All I want is for somebody to stop shooting blacks.

All I want is for somebody to stop the death days of black people.


For James

By Diamond



Loved compassion

Hope strong black

Shot killed we say

Pray not


He shined.

James Groves


James Groves and Mathias Washington

By Diamond


Roses are red

Violets are blue

We say love and Rest in Peace

to James Groves and Mathias



James Groves and Mathias Browder

By Barbie


James Grove

Love, Listen

Lying, Stealing NOTHING

Shot, died, love, sad

Scared, shot, worried he

Stole , Gun

Matthias Browder


-Photographic credit and rights belong to Dr. Lara Kelland