When teaching Black History Month, we should delve deeper than just learning about a few historical figures. Here are a few tips for celebrating the month:
1. Build empathy by talking about both the celebrations and struggles of African Americans and other minority groups. Avoid approaching Black History as only a history of oppression and a fight for Civil Rights, which can appear as “deficit centered” to students.
2. Celebrate Civil Rights heroes, but don’t forget the other contributions African Americans have made. Talk about inventors, scientists, authors, and artists as well.
3. Explore African American art and music, but be careful not to reduce them to stereotypes. For instance, celebrate jazz but also dive into its political and historical contexts.
4. Connect history to current political and social events. Has segregation really ended? What role did racism have in the capitol riots? Do not be scared of difficult topics.
5. Remember that Black History is not limited to the United States. For example, many of our students are Afro-Latinos. Don’t forget their histories and cultures.