Black History Month
Posted on January 31, 2018 by CHS
The month of February was officially recognized in 1976 by United States President Gerald Ford as Black History Month. Black History Month is a time to honor the rich history, culture, contributions, and importance of African Americans. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) picks a yearly theme for Black History Month to help the public focus their attention on a specific subject. Last year, for example, the theme was the Crisis in Black Education, which “focuse[d] on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans.” The theme this year, titled African Americans in Times of War, was selected because 2018 is the 100th year anniversary since the end of World War I and the ASALH seeks to honor African Americans during past and present wars and their struggle for “the righteous hope for peace.” As President Ford stated in 1976, we must “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” As an educator or a parent, there are many ways to teach children about the many contributions of African Americans to this country.
Here are some suggestions as recommended by Megan Kaesshafer, author of 28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month from Scholastic.
- Read with your child famous speeches made by influential African Americans, such as I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and The Audacity of Hope by President Barack Obama. You can also listen to the audio or watch recordings of these speeches with children. After listening to the speech you selected, have your child write about the changes that he would like to see in his home or community. If your child is younger, you can have a conversation with him and then help him draw his ideas for what he thinks will make the world a better place.This is also a good opportunity to talk to him about what he would like to be when he grows up and how what he decides to do can help others. Maybe your child wants to become an astronaut to travel through space, a scientist to cure diseases, or President of United States of America to help others. No matter what your child wants to be, you can allow him to get creative and share his dream with you and others. To learn more about other African Americans that influenced our history, click here.
- You can also teach your child songs such as “This Little Light of Mine” and “Oh, Freedom” which were sung during the civil rights movement. As you review the lyrics with your child, talk about how the lyrics gave hope and willpower to African Americans at the time.
- Teach your child about African American scientists such as Mae Jamison, Shirley Jackson, George Washington Carver, and more. Lesson plans for different grades focused on scientific accomplishments of African Americans can be found at ScienceNetLinks.
- Teach your child about blues music and have them create their own 12-bar blues music. You can listen to the blues music at PBS and better understand the 12-bar blues by clicking here. By teaching about the blues music, your child will learn about the “struggles of the working-class Southerners who created the music, including the legacies of slavery and the cotton economy in the South, the development of Jim Crow, the Great Migration, and the Civil Rights Movement.”
- Teach your child about important barriers that were overcome by African Americans, such as Barack Obama, who was the first African American President of the United States and Jackie Robinson who was the first to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Review a variety of famous African American firsts such as these here.
- Watch digital stories created by students in the 8th grade about Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Black History. After watching these videos, discuss with your child about these significant African American individuals in our history and talk about what they learned.
You can find more ways to teach your children about celebrating Black History Month at Scholastic.
Below are additional resources for more ways to celebrate and learn about Black History Month.