As a child attending elementary school in NYC, Black History Month involved school assemblies with guest speakers, dressing up as famous performers, and singing and dancing. We would learn about Langston Hughes, and other great poets of The Harlem Renaissance. We learned about Dr. Charles Drew and Madame C.J. Walker, inventors who overcame obstacles to change the trojectory of modern society. The celebrations provided a cultural kaleidoscope, and filled me with optimism, and a sense of pride and accomplishment. As a result, I realized that there are options in my future and that I can achieve anything. In recent years, as an educator I have noticed a shift in the focus of Black History Month. Celebrations have been reduced to classroom discussions about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. The explorations of the various contributions African-Americans have made to modern society has ceased. Many have limited their exposure to a single story! African-Americans have made countless contributions to all aspects of human society. There are many pioneers in the Arts, Medicine, Science, and Education that can serve as great examples of cultural pride. Let’s broaden the landscape of learning. Celebrating Black History Month can also have a unifying effect. Exploring the contributions of cultures outside of your own can demonstrate the commonalities among us. It may even answers questions that may seem to awkward to share. Let’s keep Black History Month alive. Let’s celebrate together!
Click link for free African-American Inventors Activity!
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