In honor of Black History Month I wanted to touch on a few things that I think are important for kids and understanding the history. Growing up, I went to a predominantly white elementary school from Kindergarten till fourth grade. By my fourth grade year the city changed it’s school zones and all the kids I had grew up with out Parkway (the projects) were now going to be going to my school. This is just around the time we started observing Black History Month at my school (coincidence? probably not). I have to admit my school was pretty good about what they taught us about African Americans, especially since most of our faculty was white.
I feel like we learned (for the most part) the right way. We weren’t taught that Abraham Lincoln just came right in and freed the slaves like a lot of kids are taught. We were taught about the underground railroad and we even watched the four-part Harriet Tubman biopic starring Cicely Tyson. Kudos again to my teachers putting us on to that at such a young age. What they didn’t teach us is how Black History Month started out as “Negro History Week” and was created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. I wasn’t taught about George Washington Carver the Botanist who created Peanut Butter or Madam C. J. Walker, the first black female Entrepreneur who invented a line of hair products for African Americans. The list of black excellence goes on and on.
The point of this post is to make sure that when we are teaching people, young and old about black history month, lets make sure we are promoting black excellence and the magic behind the people we talk about. We come from a long line of scientists, doctors, surveyors, architects and rocket scientists. Lets make sure what we teach echoes throughout the school systems and in the homes. I didn’t know about a lot of our history coming up because I provided with the proper tools. I sought out the information once I got older and my only regret is that I would have been more aware of how beautiful our black heritage was when I was younger. You would be surprised how motivating it is to a young person to learn about people who look just like them and did amazing things for the world.
Happy Black History Month!