Hi there! Margie (Director, Talent, Diversity, and Inclusion), Shantaa (Partnerships Manager) and Steen (Senior Partnerships Manager) here to wish you a very happy Black History Month!Over the years, teachers from across the country have created over 1,800 projects requesting materials and experiences aimed at educating their students about black history and the African diaspora.Black history is so rich that it’s hard for us to imagine it being contained to a month. In celebration of that richness, we each wanted to highlight one of our favorite ways teachers on our site are taking Black History beyond the month of February.
Shantaa: Exploring Black History Through Text
At her Illinois High School, Ms. Schwartzman and her students requested copies of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. Her students are using the book to launch an after-class discussion on the movements of people of color. Here’s how she describes the project:“People of Color Excel (P.O.C.E.) is a student-led club with 12 active, passionate and exceptional leaders. They want to explore issues of race through a shared book… Not only will this be beneficial from a literacy standpoint, but this will help these students learn to effectively discuss issues that are important to them. They will have to take into account the viewpoints of their peers and learn to agree and disagree respectfully.”
Steen: Exploring Black History Through Experience
Ms. Gurley in New York, took her high school students to visit the Museum of National African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. She shared why in her project essay:“Our students feel this is important as they enter the world to be able to form a solid foundation of their culture, history and place in America. The National Museum of African American History and Culture would give students the opportunity to establish this foundation and see themselves represented through the various artifacts on display.”Her students made the impact even more clear. Tess described how it’s “crucial for me to learn more about the history so I can have a greater impact on the future.” And Ariel noted that "We have to look at our ancestors and we have to fight as hard and as diligently as they did for our future generations."
Margie: Exploring Black History Through Personal History
In an incredible project, Mrs. T teamed up with her students in Georgia to create a request for copies of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s acclaimed book Between the World and Me. Here’s what they wrote about the project:“The goal of the project is to increase unity between the minority populations at my high school. So many times we separate ourselves and we only see our differences. We have so many shared experiences here in America and to make a difference we need to unite.Ever since I was a 9th grader, I've always wanted to make a difference in my community. When my teacher asked for our ideas, I stepped up because this is something that I am passionate about and I am excited about the outcomes of the interviewing, editing, and final product.In order to increase all race relations, we need to talk and see our commonalities and respect our differences. The media portrays so much negativity that I want to show that we are intelligent and our collective voices matter.”Here's to a month and beyond of learning and celebrating our country's rich history!