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Black History Month


Paula Harrison

Lower School Principal

February is probably my favorite month.  February brings Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, which usually means a four day weekend for schools and one more month until Spring Break, but did you know that February is also Black History Month?  

Black History Month honors the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history.  The celebration of Black History Month was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher of The Man Behind Black History Month.  It became a month-long celebration in 1976, and in 1986, Congress passed Public Law 99-244, which designated February as National Black (Afro-American) History Month.  The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

When I taught Fifth Grade, my students studied the Civil War, which is my favorite topic in U.S. History.  They learned about the life of Frederick Douglass, from a slave to an abolitionist, and how heroic Harriet Tubman was by using the Underground Railroad to transport many slaves to freedom.  I remember sharing a picture book about Ruby Bridges with my classes so they could learn about her bravery as the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white school in New Orleans.  I have read books/poetry by Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Amanda Gorman, to name a few.

These are only a few African-Americans who have made contributions to our history.  The list could go on and on.  Please share with your students some of the resources I have included below.  

One of my favorite books is Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet (age 22) to perform a reading at a presidential inauguration.  This is a  musical story of a young girl who holds the power to change the world within herself and inspires others to see the same power within themselves.  She enlists the help of a diverse group of people from her community and works with them to make positive changes.  A spirit of change and hope for everyone is the main theme of this book.  This is one I would purchase to keep on your bookshelf to read with your children over and over.  Here is a snapshot of the lyrical text in this beautiful book.

Change sings where?
There! Inside me.
Because I’m the change I want to see.
As I grow, it grows like a seed.
I am just what the world needs.
I’m the voice where freedom rings.
You’re the love your bright heart brings.

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman

Let’s all be the change.

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