From February 1 to February 28 we will be celebrating Black History Month in the United States. Since 1976, as a nation we have taken time to acknowledge the achievements of black Americans. Each year, a theme and this year’s theme is the “Crisis in Black Education” (ASALH).
Although controversy exists around the presence of Black History Month, what isn’t controversial is the acknowledgement that black history should not be contained to 28 days. The pure power and impact of African Americans on the development and future of the United States stretches from inception to present and should be honored as such. So, we want you to know that Black History is important to us and to those that we mentor.
As a mentoring program working with primarily black girls, it is important that we preach the importance of a shared history and culture. Because when they know what their ancestors were capable of, they will feel empowered!
And yes, we should extend Black History education beyond Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks! Consider discussing these topics with your mentees, students, children, nieces and nephews, friends, and colleagues:
- Impact of slavery not just on economy, but on people and culture
- Desegregation of schools, especially Central High School
- Background leaders in civil rights, such as Bayard Rustin
- Impact of African Americans in sports, media, music, and television
- Important authors and poets that have shaped literature
- Continuous road to equality
- Important black political figures
- History of HBCUs and their current impact on education
Of course there is so much more to discuss than this concise list. The important thing is to not glance over this time to discuss a little acknowledged part of history. Although incredibly present throughout the history of the United States, African Americans are not always cited in standard textbooks.
Let our youth know that their history matters! And that their education can only lead to a greater future.