Understanding Why We Celebrate Black History Month
Celebrate does seem like a wrong choice of word for Black History Month because this was a historical event where many people suffered and lost their lives searching for freedom and equity. Therefore, using the word “honor” could have been the best choice because we should honor their doggedness and the sacrifices paid.
In February, to honor Black Americans, we should start by instructing our students why this event is commemorated this month. The American historian and journalist who was the first to identify the contributions of African Americans to the generality of American history were Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950). He established the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He was once quoted saying, “History shows that it does not matter who is in power…those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.”
In 1962, Carter initiated the opinion for the need for a National Black History Week to be held in February. America chose this month because it was the birth month of two black American legends, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It was thus coined as Black History Month.
Ideas on how to honor Black History are:
- Make students spend quality time daily researching legends from black history to create a digitized book.
- Don’t restrict the honorarium to one month. Rather, let one day of every month be stipulated to see a documentary, go on a museum tour, and read a book authored by a black.
- Should be an avenue to bring on board aged or middle-aged African Americans into the classrooms for interviews about their experiences and their struggles.
- There should be a medium to guide the students to understand the inevitability of history and its huge importance to any country’s identity.
- The genre of music Hip Hop started in the 1970s in Bronx, NY, as an opportunity for children to rhyme lines and dance to beats. Trace the history of Hip Hop from that time until now and cite the similarities and differences, if any.
- There should be a formation of a Civil Rights timetable that covers the length of a wall for students to add events.
- Guide students to create a PowerPoint presentation on the influence of black women so that they can share it with others and even send it to their parents.
- Educators should teach lessons about historically black colleges and universities, after which students can make a poster board with the things that do interest them about that school.
- Investigations into businesses in A Students should be made to learn more about why the business community in America values cultural diversities in their companies and how this affects how they run business.
- Students should study African American artists and paint canvases in an artist’s favorite style.