Black History Month for Kids

Instructor: Nicky Davis
Black History Month is a time to celebrate African American achievement, and recognize the sometimes-overlooked struggles of the black community throughout history. Keep reading to find suggestions of how to engage kids in the commemoration of Black History Month.

Celebrating Black History Month With Kids

Recognizing Black History Month is important for people of all ages. For younger kids and students, though, delving into the complexities of American race relations may be too advanced. Below find suggestions of ways to involve kids in the celebration of Black History Month through conversation and different activities.

Start Conversations About Difference

By explaining the civil rights movement and Jim Crow segregation in the most basic terms, kids can begin to recognize the importance of equality through discussions of the ways in which we are all different. Explore hypotheticals in which students wearing a certain color or clothing item would be given certain privileges, and discuss why it is important to treat people equally.

  • Gain a more thorough understanding of race and ethnicity in society through this chapter and its lessons on prejudice, discrimination, and a brief history of African Americans in the United States.

Read and Reflect on Words of African American Leaders

Reading aloud poetry from the Harlem Renaissance or listening to excerpts from Martin Luther King's speeches are great ways to engage students with black history. Students can then discuss what feelings are evoked by hearing these texts, and can compose their own poems or speeches in response.

  • Study more about the Civil Rights Movement in America in this chapter, which includes lessons on the evolution of the movement through the 50's and 60's, as well as how it overlaps with the campaigns of other social activist groups.

Go See African American Art and Performance

Whether in a museum, a theatre, or a performance hall, there are numerous prolific and important black artists to be explored through visual art, drama, music and dance. Find out what events are happening near you, and take a field trip. If you can't find a good event elsewhere, look up clips and images online, and create your own gallery of African American art at home.

  • Find out more about the artists of the Harlem Renaissance in this chapter on art of the early 20th century, and check out lessons on the impact of African art on artists of that era.

Experience African American History and Culture Through Music

Learn some of the songs of the civil rights movement, such as 'We Shall Overcome' or 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' and discuss the meaning and message behind the lyrics. Additionally, listen to jazz, blues, and even modern hip-hop, to explore the ways these same messages have been woven into African American music for centuries.

  • Learn more about major figures in jazz, the history of the Cotton Club and it's influence during the Harlem Renaissance in this chapter on jazz.

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