“Negro History Week,” the precursor to Black History Month, was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History to honor and pay homage to the contributions of black people in the United States. The second week in February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Today, Black History Month is observed not only in the US but in Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands.
Black History Month continues to be an important time to not only celebrate the past but recognize the present and build for the future.
Here are a few ways that you can help your children celebrate Black History Month.
1. First and foremost, explain the evolution of “Black History Month.” Explain the history of evolution of Black History Month from “Negro History Week” to the month-long celebration of today. The evolution of the celebration is equally as interesting as the figures that are celebrated.
2. Watch history in living color. From YouTube to Netfix and beyond, there are many stories, movies, documentaries, and more that celebrate and teach kids about Black History. Pop some popcorn, get comfortable, and turn on the tube and watch movies like Malcom X, The Loving Story, Barry, Roots, just to name a few. Use the movies to look up information on the real people behind the Hollywood titles. Watching and then researching can definitely bring history to life.
3. Talk about the history of black diversity. As a result of the slave trade, the results of African diaspora can be found throughout the world. Sit down and research stories about African communities around the globe. The more we learn about community, the more we realize that we are not so different after all.
4. Learn about African-American icons and inventions. From Harriet Tubman to MLK Jr. and beyond, history is full of African-Americans that have made significant, and sometimes unrecognized contributions to our country and beyond. From the creation of the stop light to poetry and more, African-American heroes are waiting to tell their stories throughout the pages of history.
However, you choose to celebrate, celebrate Black History not only during the month of February but all year long.