February is Black History Month which is dedicated to highlighting and celebrating the important achievements and contributions of African Americans. It is also a great time for families to explore and converse about those experiences together. Celebrating Black History Month is a great opportunity to expand your child’s awareness of racial differences while encouraging them to be open and respectful to anyone they may encounter. We are so excited to share with you some of the amazing ways you can celebrate and learn about Black History Month with your family this year!
Why is Black History Month in February?
Black History Month, once known as “Negro History Week,” was founded by historian Carter G. Woodson. For many years, the second week in February was set aside for this celebration to correspond with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Fredrick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln who fought for the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery. As part of the nation’s bicentennial week in 1976 this was expanded to a month-long celebration. Every year since, each U.S. president has proclaimed February as National Black History Month.
Activities for Children
A great way to involve your children in celebrating Black History Month is with arts and crafts. Pinterest offers some great ideas such as making their own bulletin board where they can showcase some of the most influential African American inventors such as Garrett Morgan (inventor of the stoplight) and Alfred Cralle (inventor of the ice cream scooper). They can simply draw a picture of each inventor or use supplies such as cardboard paper cutouts, string, googly eyes and so much more! The next time you are at a traffic light or scoop some ice cream your children will know that these things now exist thanks to African American inventors!
Supporting local Black-owned businesses is a fantastic way to celebrate Black History Month with the whole family. The LA Times has rounded up almost 200 local restaurants to enjoy. Donating to a Black organization such S.H.E. LA, which focuses on empowering, supporting, and healing Los Angeles women and girls is a beautiful way to support Black females. Purchasing a book that is written by a Black author is another way to show your support and share this with your children. A book we enjoy is Hair Love by Matthew Cherry. Its sweet message teaches us to love ourselves just the way we are regardless of race or background!
Celebrate at Home
This year may be different in the ways we honor Black History Month due to Covid-19 but there are virtual events offered this year to enjoy such as virtual museums and celebrating through song. This year the Chicago Children’s Choir will host its annual Black History Month Concert virtually where you can enjoy genres such as gospel and jazz. You can live stream this event for free on their Facebook page and YouTube channel. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is holding virtual exhibitions, online collections, and digital resources for us to enjoy and view from the comfort and safety of our homes this year.
We look forward to celebrating the achievements of African Americans with you!