Local campaigns aim to help Baltimore students see 'Black Panther'

Aaron Maybin, the NFL linebacker-turned-art teacher who drew national attention to the city’s cold schools after posting a picture online of his students huddled in coats in a classroom, is looking to start another campaign to benefit his students.

Maybin, an educator at Matthew A. Henson Elementary School in West Baltimore, said on Twitter that he’s “trying to organize taking every kid at my school to see a showing of Black Panther” — Marvel Studios’ latest blockbuster film featuring a black superhero from a comic series first released in 1966.

The film has grossed over $400 million worldwide after opening last weekend, according to reports. It features a predominantly black cast including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett.

“This movie is too powerful and revolutionary for them not to experience it. If anyone can assist me in this effort, reach out,” Maybin posted to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 400 similar GoFundMe campaigns have been created to help thousands of students see the movie, according to a nationwide campaign called the #BlackPantherChallenge.

A local Baltimore campaign raised $470 to see the film, according to the GoFundMe page.

Peter Modlin, a former second-grade language teacher at Govans Elementary School in North Baltimore, has created a fundraiser to take a group of boys from his school to see the film. Last year, Modlin took a group of girls to see "Hidden Figures," which told the story of three African-American mathematicians and their contributions that helped launch astronaut John Glenn into space.

“They had a ball and was overwhelmed by the fact that people cared enough to help them experience things they would not have experienced otherwise,” Modlin wrote of the trip to the Maryland Science Center with 200 girls to see “Hidden Figures.”

Modlin said he wanted to offer a similar experience for the boys at Govans who “felt left out. I want to take as many boys and girls from Govans Elementary to see Black Panther,” he said in the GoFundMe post.

Larry Schugam, executive vice president of the Baltimore Curriculum Project, said the charter operator supported Modlin’s efforts.

“We believe it’s important to introduce our students to a variety of role models. … We thought it would be great to bring them to Black Panther,” Schugam said.

The fundraiser has surpassed its initial goal of $1,500. Any additional funds will support other programs for students at Govans, he said.

Students at Govans will get to see the movie March 7 at the Senator Theatre, which provided a discount, Schugam said.

Correction: Peter Modlin previously worked at Govans Elementary School but left for another job last year. The Sun regrets the error.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

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