Although some of the kids at first covered their ears at the volume of White's backup music, by the end of the show, they were dancing along, waving their hands in the air and cheering loudly for their new hero.
A Morven Elementary student, B.J. Tillman, had seen White perform during the the Third Annual HOLLA!/Hampton B. Allen Library Literary Festival Feb. 7 in Wadesboro.
"B.J. saw Mr. D.C. White at the literary festival and wanted all of his best friends to see him, too," Leon Gatewood, president of HOLLA!, told the teachers and students before White's performance. "That's the sort of thing you've gotta do— make things happen." White, whose given name is Dwight Calhoun White, is the founder and president of History Records and Entertainment.
"It is his intention to use the popularity of rap to educate and provide a positive influence," Gatewood read from a pre-written bio. "He uses rap and hip hop sensibilities and styles to teach American history."
When rapping on the Tuskegee Airmen, for instance, White dressed in a flight suit and started off his song by rapping, "I always wanted to fly... Can't you see why?"
On his song about King, he rapped, "Remember the man with the plan... the man with the dream..." He ended the song with "Yes, We Can!," the campaign slogan of U.S. President Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American president.
After each performance, a recorded message would give the kids the history of each historical figure. White also took the time to talk with the kids after he performed, telling them, "Always respect your teachers, your father, your mother, and all those that are superior to you."
Morven Elementary Principal Marilynn Bennett also reminded the students: "You, too, can make history like these men, both as an individual and as a group."