“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” This Carter G. Woodson quote perfectly sums up what Black History Month means to me.
I grew up in a multi-generational home that included my grandmother. My grandmother was born and raised in Georgia in the early 1900s. She moved to New Jersey during the period known as The Great Migration. My father, who was 15 years older than my mother, was born in Florida in the late 30s. Growing up, every month was Black History Month!
Black History Month to Me Before Kids
My family made sure that my education was supplemented with black history. In school, there was very little history of blacks, beyond the mention of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Sadly, not much has changed since I was in school. Fun fact: did you know that the required 4th grade Virginia Studies curriculum refers to slavery as a “forced work program”? So it is incumbent upon me as a parent to ensure that my children know the contributions of African-Americans in history, science, the arts, etc.
Black History Month to Me After Kids
For this Black History Month, I will be introducing my middle-school-aged daughter to the PBS Eyes on the Prize series, which documents the civil rights movement in America. This was an annual tradition in my house growing up. As a kid, I was struck knowing the events in the documentary occurred during my parents’ lifetime.
While these lessons are on-going in my house, I like to think of Black History Month as a chance for the rest of the country to join the party. It’s a chance to dig a little deeper into the history of our nation and how blacks are a huge part of it. It’s a time to reflect on Dr. King’s speeches, yes, but it’s also a time to dig into his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It’s an opportunity to remember Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Plus, learn about the year-long Montgomery bus boycott that followed Ms. Parks decision. This time of year also serves as a reminder to explore the many black history sites in the DC area, both the popular Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and other truly inspiring, yet lesser-known sites.
So how about you, DC Area Moms? How will you be celebrate and teach your children about Black History Month?