February is Black History Month
When children have friends from different backgrounds and cultures, they develop a full appreciation of everyone. Established in 1926 as Negro History Week by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the month of February is now nationally recognized as Black History Month. During February, citizens honor achievements by individual Black Americans and take time to recognize the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.
The FACE office challenges you not only to learn more about the contributions of African-Americans as a family during Black History Month, but to continue learning beyond the month of February!
Well before his death in 1950, Woodson believed that the weekly celebrations—not the study or celebration of black history–would eventually come to an end. In fact, Woodson never viewed black history as a one-week affair. He pressed for schools to use Negro History Week to demonstrate what students learned all year. In the same vein, he established a black studies extension program to reach adults throughout the year. It was in this sense that blacks would learn of their past on a daily basis that he looked forward to the time when an annual celebration would no longer be necessary. Generations before Morgan Freeman and other advocates of all-year commemorations, Woodson believed that black history was too important to America and the world to be crammed into a limited time frame. He spoke of a shift from Negro History Week to Negro History Year. (Source: ASAHL: Origins of Black History Month)
In celebration of Black History Month, we encourage you to review the following history and resources:
- Teaching Tolerance: Four Black History Month Must-Haves
- Five Ways to Avoid Whitewashing The Civil Rights Movement
- Black History Month Teaching, Miseducation or Empowerment?
Black History Month at
Grand Rapids Public Library
Between February 1-28, 2021, Grand Rapids Public Library is hosting online programs for both kids and adults that highlight and celebrate our Black community. Follow this link to the GRPL website to discover information about their online events, Black History Month Craft Kits, and Taste of Soul Restaurant Showcase.
Selected Resources for African-American History Month
from GRPS’ Office of Equity and Inclusion
The Black Family:
Representation, Identity, and Diversity
Source: Association for the Study of African American Life and History
When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. The intention has never been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.
ASALH’s 2020 theme The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity: The black family has been a topic of study in many disciplines—history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy. Its representation, identity, and diversity have been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the days of slavery to our own time. The black family knows no single location, since family reunions and genetic-ancestry searches testify to the spread of family members across states, nations, and continents. Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large. While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the “foundation” of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective—as slave or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as black or interracial, etc. Variation appears, as well, in discussions on the nature and impact of parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, and incarceration. The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present.
Register for ASALH’s Black History Month Virtual Festival: https://asalh.org/festival/
Source: Contributors to Chiff.com
Each year beginning on February 1, an entire month of events are planned nationwide honoring the history and contributions of African Americans. This year, Black History Month returns to its roots with a new focus on black family ties. The theme for 2021, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity”, explores the wide-ranging diversity of black family life — from single to two-parent households to nuclear, extended and, more recently, bi-racial.
Learn more about the exceptional contributions made by African Americans with these ideas for each day of Black History Month.
Source: Celebrating Black History Month with PBS SoCal and KET
This February, PBS SoCal and KCET present an exciting programming slate in honor of Black History Month! Both stations will showcase a curated lineup of enlightening programs to bolster awareness and understanding of racial history in America.
Integrating Black History Month
To help you integrate Black History Month into your classroom, we offer a selection of lesson plans that cover a variety subjects and that can be adapted to fit multiple grade levels.
Black Lives Matter at School
As racism and xenophobia become more prevalent and overt in our schools and communities, it is more important than ever to listen to and elevate the voices, experiences, and history of our fellow citizens and communities under attack. The goal of Black Lives Matter at School is to spark an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation in school communities for people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice. Find stories, resources and ideas highlighting Black Lives Matter at School from across the country here.
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents can encourage cooperation and teamwork when children have fights or disagreements between themselves. Encouraging them to compromise and talk it out are great ways for children to work cooperatively with others. Sharing and taking turns are also great steps toward good team members.
Black History Celebration Activities
This month, connect with other families to
- celebrate Black History Month or your own family history
- honor President’s Day
- schedule a midyear check in with the teacher