Black History Month is a chance to learn about and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of black Americans throughout history.
It is a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of the past, as well as the current work that must be done to establish real racial equality.
Celebrating Black History Month with our families is a great way to educate and empower the next generation. This is how we ensure African American history is passed down to future generations.
As white parents, we need to raise our own awareness. We also need to raise awareness and educate our children. We cannot count on schools or any other organization to provide education about black history.
Continue reading to learn the history and significance of Black History Month, as well as ideas for how families with kids of all ages can celebrate and learn together.
What is Black History Month and Why Do we Celebrate It?
Black History Month is observed in the United States in February as a time to learn about and recognize the accomplishments of black Americans. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing efforts for racial equality and justice.
The idea began in 1926, when black historian Carter G. Woodson proposed “Negro History Week.” Woodson chose February for Black History Week because it is the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’.
The first official Black History Month was established in 1976 by President Ford. Since then, it has been remembered every year as a time to think about the good and bad times black Americans have had throughout history.
1. Celebrate Black History Month by Participating in Local or Virtual Events.
Celebrating Black History Month with children is an excellent way to educate and empower the future generation. Participating in local or virtual events with kids is a great opportunity to introduce them to the rich history, culture, and achievements of African Americans.
Not all communities have events celebrating Black History Month. My community does not. Thankfully, with Google, Zoom, and online technology, we now have numerous opportunities available to us to participate in online events to learn about and celebrate black history. To find local events, Google or search Facebook for announcements of events in your community.
Every family should make Black History Month an occasion to learn and celebrate, just like other holidays. White parents, like myself, have a special responsibility to learn ourselves so we can teach our children. This is more than just overt teaching; it is about cultivating an innate awareness in our children.
By going to events with children during Black History Month, we help them understand the value of cultural heritage and respect and accept the contributions of all people.
2. How to Celebrate Black History by Learning about Black Artists
Celebrating Black History Month with children is a wonderful way to educate and empower the next generation. One way families can celebrate Black History Month is by learning about black artists and their contributions to the world of art. Black artists have made significant contributions to the art world throughout history, yet their work is often underrepresented in mainstream education and media.
Black Poetry and Jazz are celebrated by the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This page contains references for kids activities such as the free Joyful ABC activity book download. As part of your Black History Month celebration, select any of the items from the list to learn about black American artists' contributions.
When we learn about black artists, we see the variety and value of art and cultural heritage, as well as the contributions of black people.
3. How to Celebrate Black History by Learning Black History and Culture
Black history and culture cover a wide range of topics and can be shared with young and older family members alike. Parents, family members and caregivers can start by reading books and watching documentaries that highlight the history and culture of Black people.
The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration offers many online events for 4th graders through adults to learn about African American artists. Sign your family up for this free conference presented by the Smithsonian Museum. Register one to three months ahead of time to sign up to attend the free conference here.
Read books about black history with your Kids. There are 25 books on this list, to read with kids ages 4 and older. Choose at least one book that your child will naturally be drawn to based on their interests and one book that is introducing brand new material.
For example, a child who enjoys sports may naturally be drawn to “Teammates,” but you would also introduce a second book, such as “Mae Among the Stars,” which highlights the first female African American astronaut.
Black history and culture cover a wide range of topics. This includes the chattel slavery of black people in the United States, the contributions of Black people to various fields, and the culture and traditions of Black communities.
The 1619 podcast is part of “The 1619 Project,” which challenges us to reframe U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation's foundational date.
The podcast itself is suitable for adults and teenagers and can be played in the car while running errands with your kids. Parents and other educators can download this free curriculum guide to help augment discussion. This podcast and curriculum talk about important parts of American history that shouldn't be forgotten during Black History Month.
4. Celebrate Black History Month by Following Black Content Creators
We need to celebrate Black History Month with action. The easiest way to take action is to follow black content creators. We are on at least one social media channel daily, if not several times a day.
Black content creators are individuals and groups who produce and share information, entertainment, and other content across various platforms, such as social media, YouTube, podcasts, and blogs. They are writers, artists, activists, educators, who use their platforms to share their perspectives, experiences, and insights on various issues related to Black history and culture.
By following black content creators, we get a wide range of information and viewpoints on various topics related to black history and culture. This is a great way to learn and discuss issues about the history and culture of black people and to gain an understanding of the current fight for racial equality.
Following black content creators provides support for the black community at no cost. It's especially important for me as a non-black person to continue to listen to and learn from black creators as we celebrate Black History Month.
Celebrating Black History Month by following black content creators is a great way to empower the next generation to see the world in a new and exciting way.
5. Celebrate Black History Month by Buying from Black Businesses.
Celebrating Black History Month by buying from black-owned businesses is a great way to support the black community and acknowledge the contributions of black entrepreneurs. Black-owned businesses play a vital role in the economy, yet they often face significant barriers and discrimination. By buying from black-owned businesses, families support black entrepreneurs and promote economic empowerment.
Make it your business to buy from black-owned businesses. “Making a difference with our money” is one of the most powerful ways to make a positive difference in our communities.
As a way to celebrate Black History Month, make it a habit to learn about black-owned businesses in your area. We can expand our support and impact by also buying online from black-owned businesses.
Next time you go to order something off of Amazon, check first to see if you can find what you are looking for in a black-owned Etsy shop.
Celebrating Black History Month by buying from black-owned companies is an opportunity to empower the next generation to see the world in a new and exciting way, promote economic empowerment, and support black communities.
6. Celebrate Black History Month by making African Food or Soul Food
Cooking with kids is always a great way to spend time together. It's a practical activity because we all need to eat, and it offers an opportunity to learn life skills. Why not make traditional African-American food part of your Black History Month celebration?
Families can begin by researching traditional African and soul food recipes. There are many cookbooks and online resources that feature authentic recipes and instructions for making traditional dishes such as jollof rice, plantains, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and more.
Families can also use this time to learn about the history and cultural importance of the meals they are making. For example, jollof rice is a West African dish that is often served at celebrations and special occasions. Families can discuss how food and meals play a role in cultural celebrations, traditions, and identity.
Cooking with kids is always a great way to spend time together. It's a practical activity because we all need to eat, and it offers an opportunity to learn life skills. Why not make traditional African food or “soul food” part of your Black History Month celebration?
7. Celebrate Black History Month by Learning Civil Rights Songs
One way families with kids can celebrate Black History Month this year is by learning civil rights songs. Music was an important part of the civil rights movement because it gave a voice to those who had been left out or mistreated.
Families can start by learning about civil rights songs and their history. Some famous examples include “We Shall Overcome,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” and “Freedom.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is often referred to as the black national anthem. Parents and guardians can also look for online resources such as videos, playlists, and lyrics to help them and their children learn the songs.
No holiday celebration is complete without music. Check out the list of the iconic songs of the Civil Rights Movement and the story behind each song. Singing “This Little Light of Mine” and teaching the origin of this song as part of the Civil Rights movement is a cheerful way to celebrate Black History Month with your family.
There are quite a few children's books written about Martin Luther King Jr., as well as kid-friendly Martin Luther King Jr. videos.
Celebrating Black History Month by learning civil rights songs is a really fun way for families to enjoy Black History Month with younger kids.
8. Celebrate Black History Month by using this Free Black History Month Inspirational Quotes Journal
An important part of celebrating Black History Month is to raise our awareness and to reflect on our new awareness. It's important not to shy away from issues of “white privilege” and to question our internal stereotyping. Even so-called “positive” stereotyping, is negative.
As a white person, I prided myself on my experience of growing up and living in really diverse areas. I grew up in Fresno, California, which is an incredibly diverse community.
Growing up in a diverse community does not mean that I understand the experiences of the people of color in my community.
We need the contributions and history of black Americans to be common knowledge as part of our society. Celebrating Black History Month is the first step.
I made this free journal to help me memorize “Black History Month Quotes.” Use the pages in this journal to reflect on Black History Month. Write your thoughts about each black American quote.
This is a daily journal that you can use for reflection, even after Black History Month is over. I'm sharing this journal as a free download, and I invite you to celebrate Black History Month and reflect with me.