February is Black History Month. It’s a time to recognize the achievements and contributions of black Americans that helped shape our great nation – the activists, the scientists, the teachers, the inventors, the politicians, the authors, and so many more that left legacies, we honor.
Black History Month actually started out as only a week and was called Negro History Week. That was 1926. Fifty years later, in 1976, president Gerald Ford extended the week-long event to an entire month, officially creating Black History Month.
February is an excellent time for homeschoolers to focus their attention on and learn about Black History and the black Americans, past and present, that have accomplished so many great things.
There are many different areas of Black History that you can study and many different ways you can go about it. You can simply read books or watch documentaries about different people and events from the past. You can incorporate some Black History into various school subjects throughout the month of February.
Here are some ideas and inspiration for incorporating Black History Month into different subject areas in your homeschool:
Explore the rich history of African civilizations, including pre-colonial societies and great empires like Mali and Songhai. Delve into the impact of the transatlantic slave trade, resistance movements, and the achievements of African Americans in the various historical periods, including the Civil Rights Movement.
Notable historical figures to study –
- Frederick Douglass
- Thurgood Marshall
- Rosa Parks
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Immerse students in the literary contributions of African American writers such as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, and James Baldwin. Analyze their works, which often reflect the struggles, resilience, and cultural richness of the African American experience.
Books to add to your reading list by black authors –
Learn about and immerse yourself in black history through fictional accounts of the time period with books like –
Highlight the contributions of African Americans in the fields of science and medicine, from pioneers like Daniel Hale Williams, the first person to perform open-heart surgery, to modern researchers making advancements in various scientific disciplines and medical research.
Other great black scientists to study –
- George Washington Carver
- Mae Jemison
- Percy Julian
Celebrate the vibrant world of African American visual artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, and Jean-Michel Basquit. Explore their unique styles, themes, and contributions to the broader art world. Immerse students in the diverse and influential history of African American music, from the roots of jazz and blues to the global impact of hip hop. Explore the works of musicians like Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, and contemporary artists shaping the music industry.
Here are some hands-on activities and projects that you can plan into your month of Black History study.
Create biographical profiles of influential figures. You could do this in a notebook by using one page per profile, or you could use an index card per profile, or even make a poster out of it.
Place important people and events in a timeline book or a timeline poster.
Write poems, essays, or songs inspired by Black History.
Work on art projects the celebrate African American Culture.
Simulate a Civil Rights Movement workshop or protest.
Invite a local historian or community leader to speak to your students or to have your students interview.
Visit local museums or cultural institutions focused on Black History.
Hopefully the ideas above will help inspire you and help you plan to include some Black History learning and research into your school days during the month of February, or any month of the year.
Must of the information I’ve included above, plus more, is included in this printable Black History Month Unit Study Outline (that also includes a planning page) that you can get for free by subscribing to the My Joy-Filled Life email list. Simple fill out the form below to get it. As a subscriber to My Joy-Filled Life you will get weekly(ish) updates and occasional information about great freebies, giveaways, and offers.