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Fundraising For Kids To See 'Black Panther'

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Frederick Joseph grew up in New York and says he was obsessed by comics, but he didn't see many black characters.

FREDERICK JOSEPH: We had a black comic in "Spawn," but he was a servant of the devil. And we had a black comic in terms of "Blade," but he was a vampire.

SIMON: Black Panther was different - human, not a devil or a vampire. He came from somewhere Frederick had never imagined.

JOSEPH: The fictional nation of Wakanda is an African nation that was never colonized. And then, ruling this nation, you have this humble and emotional king, and he's protected by an all-woman guard, who are the most fierce warriors in the nation.

SIMON: So when Marvel announced the release of a movie about the Wakandan superhero...

JOSEPH: I decided that I was going to try to take as many young children of color as possible from my area to see the "Black Panther" film.

SIMON: He used his skills as a marketing consultant to start the "Black Panther" Challenge - a fundraiser to pay for their tickets. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised to buy thousands of tickets. And soon, others across the world started their own "Black Panther" Challenge.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHVIED RECORDING)

COBBY WILLIAMS: Over here.

SIMON: Including Cobby Williams (ph), a fifth-grade social studies teacher in Baltimore.

WILLIAMS: It is Black History Month, so that was one big reason - and the main reason - why I did the GoFundMe.

SIMON: Williams raised more than $600 and took 35 students to the movies on Friday. Here are some of their reviews.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #1: It made me feel like it was really worth it towards me.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #2: It's different from other movies because it's like, you can fight for what you believe in, but you can do it in different kind of ways.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT #3: I think it was more of a culture movie and showed that third-world countries ain't just poor, and they don't celebrate anything. They celebrate many things.

SIMON: Williams says he'll take lessons from that movie back to his social studies classroom to begin a discussion about what it really means to be a hero.

(SOUNDBITE OF IKEBE SHAKEDOWN'S "LAST STAND") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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