Mrs. Henry was tough.
She was my 5th and 6th grade science teacher. She’s also Mr. Dunn’s sister. While you could call him strict, Mrs. Henry was the epitome of it. I think you would find her photo in a collage if you searched “powerful Black women” on Wikipedia.
I love her for her power, intelligence, and being accommodating to this awkward little boy. I’m also grateful to her for being a part of my best moment at Stevensville Middle School, teaching us about electricity.
We had an experiment that day, hooking up a 9-volt battery to a little lightbulb. It was simple, and maybe a little boring after you made it work the first time. Me, I had a brilliant idea to kick things up a notch.
At the time, I had braces. They were the “railroad track variety” with a wire connecting all the bands around each tooth. Can you see where this is going?
I hooked up the positive wire to one side of the braces and the negative to the other side. Then I touched the lightbulb to the center of the braces and wowed my classmates when it lit up.
Mrs. Henry appeared out of nowhere and popped the battery out of the connector box. Then she gave me a lecture involving, “What in the world possessed you to do that?”
No lie, it was fucking brilliant.
I didn’t get to play with electricity for the rest of the day.
Mrs. Henry is another face in my tapestry of why Black Lives matter to me. She is exemplary.