Celebrating Black History Month
Last February, Kids Academy offered families many ideas to help honor and celebrate Black History Month.
Most of us are already aware that the purpose of Black History Month is to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions African Americans have made for our society. However, in recent years, some people might be tempted to view the many ways in which our country has changed over the years, and to deem Black History Month as unneeded or irrelevant to our modern culture. While America has made huge strides over the years and decades, our work as a country is far from complete, and history should never be forgotten.
Lonnie Bunch, Founding Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, said in his blog that “there is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history”, and that there is “no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering”. In his article, Bunch argues that Black History Month is just as important today as ever before because it preserves the memory of the past as well as the culture of an entire group of people. Moreover, it empowers members of that culture to retain their traditions while continuing to make a positive difference in the world.
Overall, teaching our children about Black History Month and about the many important African American influencers and contributors continues to move our society forward. Essentially, we are raising kids who will one day grow up and contribute to our society, hopefully in a positive way. By teaching them to respect the history, culture, and accomplishments of African Americans, they will be more aware and ultimately more tolerant of everyone within our highly diverse country.
It’s important to remember that the following ideas can be done throughout the year, and not just in February! As Americans, we should work to honor their contributions all the time. Sometimes, however, it’s important to take time out to focus and remember the purpose of doing that, which makes February a great time, too. Try the following ideas to reinforce Black History Month and its importance with your kids:
Check out the local children’s museum
If you live near a large city, chances are it has a children’s museum. If that’s the case, and even if you have already visited the museum with your children before, check out the exhibits and programming it has available for the month of February. Many children’s museums offer themed days or special exhibits to honor holidays and Black History Month is no exception!
Study African American culture and recipes
One of the best ways to get to know a culture is by making and enjoying their food! Take a dive into African-inspired cuisine and find dishes to try with your family. Decide upon a few recipes to make with your child and encourage him or her to get in on the fun making the dish with your guidance! Try to make one meal per week throughout the month to celebrate African American culture.
Study influential African Americans based upon your child’s own interests
For example, does your child love music? Art? Or reading? Whatever it is your child is passionate about, honor Black History Month by using it as a catalyst to study black culture. For example, if your child is musically inclined, talk about jazz and listen to Duke Ellington or Miles Davis. If your child loves to read, find children’s books authored by or about African Americans. For older kids, read and discuss poems by Langston Hughes or Maya Angelou.
Check out other local kid-friendly events in your town
Many public libraries, museums, and playhouses offer classes, story time events or other activities based upon topic. There’s no doubt that there is something happening in your area to celebrate Black History in February. Go see a play, or view African American art. Use the web to check out your local venues and programming to plan your month!
To read this article in its entirety and find out more about why Black History Month is celebrated in February and ideas to celebrate in your classroom, click HERE.