In addition to Valentine's Day, February marks Black History
Month. In 1926, Negro History Week was established by Dr. Carter
Godwin Woodson to honor African Americans. This was changed to
Black History week in 1970, and expanded to Black History month
in 1976. This February, you can help bring Black History Month
alive to the students in your classroom with a few fun activities.
1. A walk in time: Split students into groups and have
them review important events throughout black history. They can
look at events like the abolition of slavery, civil rights movement,
and even current African American celebrities.
2. The ABCs of famous African Americans: Assign students
a famous African American for each letter of the alphabet. Have
them write a short biography on their assigned person. Or for
younger children, have them draw a picture of the person or their
contribution to society.
3. Paint a mural: This is a great way to incorporate art
into the history. Pass out a number of names or famous African
Americans. Younger students can draw or color pictures of famous
African Americans, while older students can do research on their
assigned person to decide what to draw.
4. Fantastic firsts: You can introduce all the firsts
in African American history - such as the first African American
woman to graduate college, the first African American doctor,
or the first African American congressman. Have students think
about other firsts in history or future firsts - will one of them
be the first African American president?
5. African American inventions: Review the different inventions and
everyday items that we have thanks to African American inventors.
Students will be particularly interested in the items that they
use every day.
6. History every day of the year: There is no reason why
Black History Month has to last a month. Help students come up
with a calendar detailing an interesting African American history
fact for each day of the year. This activity works well as a group
project, with each group taking a separate month.
7. I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. is perhaps
one of the most well known figures of Black History Month. Study
his famous speech, and have students write a paper, or draw a
picture of what changes they would like to see in the future.
Another exciting exercise is to have the student discuss dreams
that they have.
8. History is local too: African American history did
not take place just in the Deep South. Have students research
local events in African American history, or ask guest speakers
come in and tell them what life was like for them during the civil
9. Boarding the bus: Rosa Parks is another famous figure
of the civil rights movement. Have students reenact possible scenarios
of how the bus ride could have gone if she had given up her seat.
Students can create their own costumes and props and present skits
to the class. 1
10. Create collages: Review the collages created by artist
Romare Bearden. Have students bring in old magazines from home
to cut out pictures to create their own collages in the same style.
Younger students may need help with glue and scissors.