Every month is Black History Month for many of us, but these next 28 days offer a unique opportunity to celebrate and educate. As we embark on this journey together, let’s square away a couple of important things.

Teach Our Whole History

First and foremost, let’s avoid saturating this month with narratives of our enslaved ancestors. We honor them AND there is so much more to learn about! Teaching the institution of slavery is essential in understanding the history of bondage and the foundation of this country, but it’s not the comprehensive history of Black people and culture. Teach Black joy, Black play, and Black love. βœŠπŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ–€

Expanding on this point, it’s crucial to recognize that Black history encompasses a rich tapestry of achievements, cultures, and contributions. This world, the things we most frequently enjoy (e.g., hip-hop, good food, seasoning, inventions, and intellectual breakthroughs) would not be possible without Black people. We are a contributing people, a collective of genius, joy, and creativity. TEACH THAT! From ancient African civilizations to contemporary achievements in science, arts, and politics, Black history is a story of resilience and triumph over adversity and a love story of how as a WHOLE people we curate, enjoy, love, and live loudly πŸŒπŸŒ†πŸ’ͺ🏾πŸ”₯ Teach Black history as American history. PERIOD.

2. Black Genius, Play, and Achievement

Let’s teach ALL students that Black people come from kings and queens, thinkers and doers, and a culture rich in play and creativity. Teach about Black play, our wide range of joyful activities that are always artistic and deep expressions of Black joy, identity and resistance. Understanding and celebrating Black play is crucial because it provides a more holistic view of Black life and culture. It shows students that Black history isn’t only about struggle but is also about the joy, creativity, and community spirit that have been integral to Black survival, thriving and identity-making. By teaching about Black play, we allow students to see the richness and vibrancy of Black culture, breaking down stereotypes and fostering a deeper appreciation and respect.🌈

Lastly, highlighting the achievements of Black royalty and leaders from African history helps paint a more complete and empowering picture of Black culture. These historical figures were visionaries, innovators, and rulers who left lasting legacies. Their stories deserve to be celebrated and shared with pride. πŸŒŸπŸ‘‘πŸ“œ Say their names LOUD! If you don’t know their names, find them!

3. Diverse Activists and Thinkers

While Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. are celebrated figures, there are SO MANY other activists, thinkers, and creators worth mentioning. Use this month to teach the stories of Claudette Colvin, Maude Ballou, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, and countless others who have made significant contributions to Black history. πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ“–πŸ§ βœ¨

In addition to the well-known figures, it’s essential to explore the diversity of Black activism and intellectual thought. Highlighting a wide range of individuals who fought for civil rights, social justice, and equality provides a more comprehensive understanding of the movement’s depth and complexity. πŸ€βœŠπŸΏπŸŒπŸ‘οΈ

4. Celebrate ALL Black life

Please give light and love to Black LGBTQIA+ lives in your lessons as their genius, joy and tenacity have and continue to make up a significant part of our history. Recognize their contributions and stories during this month and every month. πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆβ€οΈπŸŒŸπŸŒˆ #Allblacklives

Incorporating the stories and experiences of Black LGBTQIA+ individuals is essential to accurately representing the full spectrum of Black history. Their contributions to civil rights, the arts, and culture have been significant, and their voices need to be heard and celebrated. πŸŒˆπŸ‘πŸ½πŸ“£πŸ’–

5. Beyond February

Lastly, remember that Black History Month should not be a lights-on, lights-off phenomenon that happens in our schools. It should be a continuous effort to empower ALL students through the accurate history American history. Carry the work of antiracist pedagogy, cultural responsiveness, and awareness past February and into the other eleven months. βœŠπŸΎπŸŒπŸ“šπŸŒ³

Sustaining the commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and cultural awareness throughout the entire year is essential for creating an inclusive and equitable educational environment.

β€οΈπŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ€Ž #AllBlackLivesMatter πŸŒˆβœŠπŸΎπŸŒŸπŸ’«