I have made a point in my house to celebrate Black History Month. I have always encouraged diverse reading and talking to my children about history. This is an activity that takes place day to day, month to month, year to year. To educate my children about history they may not necessarily come across and encourage them to look beyond what they are taught in school.
Please do not take this as a tirade against education- it is not. I work in education and I understand that there are only so many hours in the day to deliver a robust curriculum. Could things be improved? Of course. But this post is not about that.
This is about my home, my children and what we do to celebrate Black History.
A few years ago, I was wondering how I could really teach my children about Black History in a visual and interactive way. Also in a way that didn’t actually require me to do hours and hours of research and becoming a chore instead.
I settled on taking over a wall. Every year, I print pictures and a little bio about each person, living or dead and add to it each year. The idea being, that when the kids are teenagers/young men they would have ample of examples of men and women who were trail blazers, leaders, fighters in every field imaginable. That no matter what society says, they will know that anything is possible.
So far we have: Bob Marley, Estelle, Sir Mo Farah, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Lewis Hamilton, Ignatius Sancho, Olaudah Equiano, Mae Carol Jemison, Beyonce, Marcus Rashford, Martin Luther King, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Colin Kaepernick, Misty Copeland, Richard Ayoade, Maya Angelou, Malorie Blackman, Michelle and Barack Obama, Michaela Cole and Michael Peters.
Celebrating Black History is to celebrate who we are, past, present and the future. To accept the pain of the past but also to see the beauty and triumph in our stories and collective identity. To understand the nuance of each person’s history. No one is perfect, each person is unique as well as our walk through life. All in all, we are living and breathing Black History every day we we wake.
We leave the wall up that goes up in the first couple of days in October near enough, right up to Christmas. And this year, we included someone very important, Michael Peters, my children’s grandfather. He has worked in education since the 70’s and has worked tirelessly to ensure that education is accessible and the best it could it be. He may not be famous, but he is a great example of lifelong commitment to ensuring that all children have quality education.
No matter what you are doing, if you choose to actively celebrate Black History Month or not, I hope that we can always celebrate our stories as individuals as well as a collective. Black History is History.
Happy Black History Month!