In 1915, in response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public, historian Carter G. Woodson co-founded the association that in 1926 would declare the second week of February “Black History Week”, to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. This week was chosen because it includes the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, and former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. The week-long event officially became Black History Month in 1976 when U.S. president Gerald Ford extended the recognition to the entire month of February.
This month has always had a theme starting with 1975’s “Fulfilling America’s Promise: Black History Month.” This year’s theme is “Black Health and Wellness”, focusing on the legacy of black scholars and medical professionals as well as other rituals and initiatives that black communities have noted as importance in wellness.
We encourage you to incorporate the accomplishments and works of Black creators into your lessons as you plan for February! Black history is American history, so check out the resources linked below for more ideas!
- Teaching Black History in Culturally Responsive Ways (2 minute read) - This resource offers great insight into how to infuse Black history year round. No matter what subject you teach, there are ways you can infuse Black history into your daily lessons in a way that is prophetic and purposeful. Suggestions include ideas for every content area, as well as ways to incorporate Black authors and important local Black figures into your curriculum!
- Facing History and Ourselves (1 minute read) - Alongside the lessons of Black history, it’s also critical to honor the resilience, creativity, and vitality of Black people in the face of inequity and violence, past and present. That’s why, this year, they’re celebrating Black History Month by honoring the themes of Black Agency & Black Joy. Interactive, multimodal lesson plans range from reflecting on Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” inaugural poem to understanding #TakeaKnee and Athlete Activism. These resources will keep students engaged and wanting to learn more!
- Online Black History Exhibits - The pandemic is a great time to educate yourself about Black achievements. While a single month is not enough time to make up for the historical foundation of racism and erasure, the online exhibits listed are a great start to filling that gap!
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DiBenedetto, C. (2021, February 1). Mashable. Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://mashable.com/article/online-exhibits-for-black-history-month/