Each February, Black History Month offers us a dedicated time to honor the rich legacy and profound impact of African-Americans on the tapestry of American history. This month-long observance is not just a period of reflection; it’s a vibrant celebration of the contributions and achievements of the African-American community.
A Brief History of Black History Month
Black History Month originated from “Negro History Week,” established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. It was expanded to a month in 1976, with President Gerald Ford urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Why Teaching African-American History is Important
The importance of teaching African-American history in schools cannot be overstated. It helps in acknowledging and understanding the African-American experience, which is integral to the comprehensive narrative of American history. Teaching this history goes beyond recounting the painful past of slavery and oppression; it’s about recognizing the resilience, innovation, and leadership that have been a cornerstone of the African-American journey.
Incorporating African-American history in education serves several crucial purposes. It offers representation, giving students of color role models who reflect their own experiences and heritage. It also provides other students with a more inclusive and accurate picture of American history, fostering empathy and understanding across different communities.
Moreover, teaching Black history challenges stereotypes and combats racial prejudices. It’s a vital step towards equality and social justice, as understanding the past can guide us in addressing contemporary issues of racial inequality.
Celebrating Black History Month with Free TeacherMade Activities
Black History Month is a time to actively engage with this rich history, ensuring that the stories, struggles, and triumphs of African-Americans are an integral part of our ongoing educational narrative. Below you will find seven free activities in the TeacherMade digital learning platform that may be great additions to your lesson plans in the month of February (or January for MLK Day).
ELA/Social Studies: Mini Biographies
ELA: Mae Jemison
ELA: Can Kids Change the World?
ELA: Who Was William Wells Brown?
ELA/Social Studies: Martin Luther King Jr. Reading Comprehension
ELA: I Have a Dream Acrostic Poetry
ELA: Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King: Peaceful Warriors