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Black History Month is a yearly celebration of African American achievements. It is also known as African American History Month and was implemented by U.S President Gerald Ford, to be celebrated every February since 1976. Since then, every U.S. President has recognized Black History Month and has a theme every year. Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries also have their own different month for celebrating Black History.
Did you know that Black History Month started in 1915? It started half a century after slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in the United States. Thanks to the founders of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), Carter G. Woodson, and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland, their organization was built to recognize and promote the achievements of Black Americans, or people of African descent.
The 2021 theme for Black History Month is "Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” It explores the history and diaspora of African American heritage across the U.S. But why is Black History Month important? What are the lessons we can teach our kids from Black History?
The world consists of different people. We parents are responsible for how our children will treat others. Let's be proactive and teach them about diversity and equality before the law. No matter the race, ethnicity, or culture, we should respect everyone. You can show images or books to your kids about different people from around the world. Emphasize that we are all humans, and we have the same needs. We may have different looks and cultures, but we all have the same human feelings.
Many famous African American heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, had shown persistence and dedication towards their cause, making a huge impact on the trajectory of American History. Being dedicated demonstrates hope and lets us think about possibilities. Whatever our children's goals are or what they want to achieve in their lives, we can let them know about working hard and being dedicated to our goals. Believe in themselves and stand for what is right. Who knows, our kids, too, can be modern-day heroes someday!
Famous black people in U.S. history have faced oppression and discrimination, but they did not back out of their struggle to succeed, whether personally or publicly. Like Maya Angelou, who was known as a memoirist, civil rights activist, and American poet. Her writings were centered on racism, family, identity, and travel. Her books highlighted black life & culture and many critics wanted to ban her books from U.S. libraries. Despite this, Maya continued to inspire people, especially women from the black community. Our kids need to know that no matter what their gender or background is, they can achieve their goals by believing in themselves and their capabilities.
"Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness." This is one of Oprah's inspiring quotes that we can teach our kids. One thing we can learn about Black History is the acceptance of failure. Many notable African Americans experienced failure before achieving success. Let's teach our kids that it is okay to fail and that it is a part of growing up. Let them know that they can learn from these failures and they can do better. It's okay to lose, accept defeat and rise back up to become a better version of themselves. Support them in every way and encourage them to continue what they have started.
Many African-American leaders are known for defending their rights, working hard for what is just and they also wanted to keep the peace. This is done by both being heard and being willing to listen. In spite of our differences, we must treat each other with respect. We can all strive to teach our children kindness and being more giving to others, regardless of our differences. Part of this involves being a role model for our kids. Be a peacemaker by modeling understanding, and forgiveness. Remember, everything starts at home. Our children mimic what they see at home and certainly will treat others the way they see us treating them and other people.
Let's celebrate Black History Month by teaching our kids the lessons from the past so they will have a better understanding of how to navigate the future.
We can read books, watch documentaries about Black History, visit museums if allowed, and have conversations with them about what we have learned from history. Here are 28 more waysto celebrate this month.