February is Black History Month. This month is dedicated to celebrating the momentous contributions made by African Americans throughout history.
Historian Carter G. Woodson created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, which led to the announcing of Negro History Week in 1925. February was chosen because both Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, both prominent figures in Black history, were born in this month. The honorary week was later extended to a month in 1976, cementing its place in American history. Each February since then, Black History month is recognized by the United States, as well as many other countries around the world.
Today, museums, schools, as well as national organizations recognize and pay tribute to Black history. The achievements of prominent figures like Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and others are widely known and celebrated. There are so many more that are cause for recognition and celebration, and here are just a few along with some of their inspirational quotes.
In 1931, Jane Bolin was the first Black woman to attend Yale Law School. Bolin later became the United States’ first Black female judge, serving on the boards of the Child Welfare League of America, the Neighborhood Children’s Center, and the NAACP.
“Families and children are so important to our society, and to dedicate your life to trying to improve their lives is completely satisfying.” -Jane Bolin
Dorothy Height was a leader and activist for the women’s movement. Known fondly as “the godmother of the women’s movement,” she worked to grow women’s rights, and used her years in social work and education to do so.
“Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition [they have] overcome to reach [their] goals.” -Dorothy Height
Marsha P Johnson was an African-American trans-woman and one of the pioneers of the gay rights movement. She spent over 20 years fighting for basic human rights for the LGBTQ+ community and continues to inspire activists today.
“You never completely have your rights, one person, until you all have your rights.” -Marsha P Johnson
The first Black woman elected to Congress in 1969 was Shirley Chisholm. She was also the first woman to run for presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in 1972.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” -Shirley Chisholm
In 2020, Kamala Harris was elected Vice President of the United States, becoming both the first female vice president as well as first African-American vice president.
“My daily challenge to myself is to be a part of the solution, to be a joyful warrior in the battle to come.” -Kamala Harris
Share the work and lives of these influential people with your little ones. If you are homeschooling or doing preschool online, add a Black History Month lesson into your curriculum. Introduce a person to learn about each day and explore their accomplishments, as well as how they have influenced our world today. The struggles and oppression African-Americans have faced are unprecedented, and the way they have fought for their voices to be heard is beyond inspirational. Learning this history teaches your kids about cultures that may be different from their own, expanding their worldview and encouraging them to be respectful and caring human beings.
How can you celebrate?
Support Black Businesses - restaurants, bookstores, online stores, etc. A quick google search can give you a list of your local black-owned businesses.
Being New York-based, here is a list of 25 NYC Black-Owned Businesses to Support:https://secretnyc.co/nyc-black-owned-businesses/
Support Black Artists - art, books, music, movies, tv shows, etc. Buy, share, read, stream, and watch art that recognizes and celebrates people of color. Here is a list of 10 Black History Movies for Kids: https://www.themanual.com/culture/black-history-movies-for-kids/
Black Children Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Futures Matter.
Miss Julia has been an early childhood educator for 5 years, with over 10 years of experience working in childcare. She has been teaching at Playgarden Prep since 2017, and is happy to share ideas on some of her favorite early education topics with you! Miss Julia has a BA from UC Irvine, and uses her experience in performing arts to inspire little ones every day in her enrichment classes at Playgarden. In her free time, Miss Julia loves enjoying nature, cooking, and creating with friends.