January 31, 2017

Black History Month

Build the house on a strong foundation…

Carter G. Woodson is known as the father of Black History month with the initial event being held in February 1926 and was called Negro History Week. The week in February included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809) and Frederick Douglass (born in February 1818).  In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford asked Americans to "…honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”  

It’s a beautiful thing to learn about the many different contributions that African Americans gave to our country and the world.  However, it’s time to take that learning up a level and really delve into more complex issues that are addressing our nation.  I know it can difficult to do this with younger students but it can be done.  It helps if black history is incorporated throughout the year and not just one month.  This helps students realize that Black History is American History and it’s important to more than one group of people.

 Make sure to teach leaders as they relate to the time period in which they struggled.  It’s great to teach who Ruby Bridges is but you must also address the issue of Jim Crow and the era of segregation in which she lived.  It’s getting away from the “holidays and heroes” teaching.  Absorb students in seeing people along with concepts, issues, and themes.

Black history is not all about oppression and the fight for rights.   We don’t want to focus solely on racism and discrimination during Black History Month, however, these are important aspects of the black experience and it is critical to address.  It is an opportunity to celebrate those moments in which we overcame obstacles in order to succeed. 

So where do you start….

It starts with a good book! 

 Fill your classroom with a variety of African American literature that you have access to throughout the school year.   Books are excellent teaching tools that embrace our students’ diversity.  Make sure your selection doesn’t reinforce negative stereotypes.  Students want and need to see themselves in the literature we present in class.  It is a celebration of our culture and heritage. 

I hope you agree that black history should be taught throughout the curriculum, year round.  It’s how we can build racial and cultural understanding and that’s necessary if we are to survive and thrive as a nation. 

How do you teach Black History?

This post contains affiliate links

1 comment:

  1. What a great collection of books. I will have to pick some up for my daughters!