Each year my son (currently in 8th grade) comes home in the month of February and tells me that they learned about Harriet Tubman to celebrate Black History month. It has always frustrated us both that there isn’t more of an effort being made towards this yearly celebration that should really be a daily celebration.
We have had this talk several years in a row. We have donated several books over the years and often discussed what can the school do different other than read a book about Harriet Tubman to celebrate Black History month. This has led to a bigger conversation on why Black History isn’t celebrated year-round in schools.
With minority teachers making up only 18 percent of America’s educators, representation in the classroom is not high. Racial diversity is important in any field, but it is especially significant when the lack of it affects young people in schools.
Imagine going through your entire day without ever seeing part of yourself in another person, without ever being able to identify or connect with someone like yourself. For most people, it’s difficult to imagine, but there are students who experience this on a daily basis in school. So my son and I took this information and came up with ways the school could celebrate Black History year-round. Then we emailed it to his principal offering a solution to help with change.
Here are ways educators to teach black history all year long:
- Because of Them We Can has a subscription box that delivers black history lessons to your front door including props, learning tools and lesson plans.
- Change an area/bulletin board of your classroom at least monthly to celebrate a specific person in black history, highlighting their accomplishments. Click here for some classroom ideas.
- Set aside the last Friday of the month to watch an important documentary or movie about a person or moment in black history.
- Schedule a field trip to a museum, like the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis.
- Read books that are about people who aren’t as heard of as Harriet Tubman, or books written by black authors.
- Support black art by visiting a black artist’s gallery or supporting black artists’ visual art, photography, music, writing, which have the power to inspire and provoke powerful emotions, as well as chronicle history in a unique and sometimes underappreciated way.
- Work with HBCU’s and their students. Expose them to black role models in your local community.
In addition to the ways above, you can always use apps that provide resources, educate and celebrate Black History.
- One Globe Kids – Children’s stories from around the world help children see what it is like to live in other countries through the perspective of native children.
- Black History – Explains the significant contributions of African Americans in the fields of science, politics, literature, the law, the arts, and more!
- Sleepover in Africa at Amani’s Graduation – Children can learn about another country and culture through an interactive and engaging story.
- Black Inventors Match Game – The Black Inventors Match Game celebrates African-American inventors and problem-solvers. This app gives you a chance to test your memory AND learn about inventions by African-Americans in the United States.
- Black History Quiz – Black History Quiz is an excellent fact based trivia game for inspiration about people, movements, and pioneers.
Black history isn’t just a thing of the past. Discuss black history, past and present. There are huge movements and achievements being made on a daily basis that we should be discussing and celebrating.