Black History Month spans February. With the successes of historical figures, sports icons and recent political endeavors, African-American heritage is well on display throughout not only the United States, but the world. In the 1980s, teachings revolved around some of the most influential African-Americans to that point, ranging from George Washington Carver to Hank Aaron. In a more modern world, educators--whether they are parents, teachers or community leaders--depend on those influences, as well as newer, more recognizable names to celebrate the importance of Black History Month.
The Importance of the Holiday
The importance of Black History Month is never more evident than it is in schools. The problem is, by design, the holiday lasts for a month, so the interest often is scattered and without focus. Using Day 1 to identify the month as a holiday is as important as the month of February itself. Once the importance is registered through conversation and acknowledgment, the fun begins. Start by identifying the important African-Americans in your audience's life. This may not be someone everyone else finds significant, but learning about someone new is the main objective. It is possible that figures will overlap, and this is perfect. Conversation, even debate, about character is important and stimulating.
The Importance of the People
Using the second day to establish the previous day’s implemented theme. "Black History Month: Day 2" will increase the concerted effort to celebrate the day-to-day importance of holiday. By now, the theme is inherent: Every day is a part of Black History Month. With the start of every day as an acknowledgment, following up with an activity is key, and easier said than done. Here are some ideas: There is one part of Black History that ties everyone together--The People. While educators tout the genius of individuals such W.E.B. Du Bois, the interest level may lie more closely to the genius of Jay-Z. Know your audience, and do not be afraid to learn something new, even if you are the educator. Use each day as a biographical frame for an influential African-American, and keep everyone on the same page regarding the requirements. Assign influential African-Americans to your audience for biographical purposes. It does not have to be a paper, or a presentation, just a quick, specific "five-W" rule recap: Who is the person, what made her important, when was his influence applicable, where was the influence practiced, why is this person important.
The Importance of Day to Day
Combining a day-to-day celebration with a list of individuals to research is at your fingertips, and may promote further research on the subject during personal time, based on intrigue. InfoPlease.com lists 500 African-American biographies. That's about enough for a class of 25 students to each pick a different person, every school day, for the entire month of February. With the biographies available, the child would simply have to abstract the who, what, when, where and why particulars and present a talk to the class. Want to add a twist to the process? Time it. To add a bit of speaking-control education to the celebration, inform the presenter that he has 60 seconds to convey the vast information to be quickly digested, entertaining and varying enough day to day to keep everyone involved, and looking forward to Black History Month: Day 3 (and 4, and 5 and 6).