Why Teaching Black History is not just a February Thing


If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.

If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.

She did what?! Consider Nikki Clarke’s unexpected approach to teaching black history in Teach Magazine. Surely none of her students expected to learn about potato chips when she mentioned black history, but teachers must stay vigilant in highlighting the vast accomplishments by all members of our country. Brushing over 10 African American accomplishments in 30 days may seem sufficient to a teacher trying to integrate black history into their curriculum, but limiting this instruction to the shortest month of the year hardly does it justice.


Teaching Tolerance highlights the importance of de-stigmatizing black history. They warn teachers not to trivialize one person or event, and not to interrupt everyday activities to highlight a topic of black history. Because, if you’re integrating black history into your everyday lesson plans, you aren’t scrambling to cover a historical figure in a twenty-minute time block. Your students are prepared, continually learning, and grasping black history within the fuller context of America’s history.

Teaching black history year round is crucial to every Social Studies classroom, but even if you’ve successfully laid a sturdy groundwork for black history throughout the year, expanding on this education during black history month can reinforce learning. Try using a review activity like this Important African Americans Biography Centers Activity to encourage students to recall important contributions of famous African Americans they’ve previously studied.
If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.
Or, highlight one of our most famous American activists, Martin Luther King, Jr., with a Scavenger Hunt, task card activity, or Walking Tour with this activity. Threading these activities into an all-inclusive curriculum will ensure that students understand the importance of their African American leaders and innovators, but also that they clearly understand the all-encompassing thread woven throughout their lives by their black predecessors.

If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.
Many teachers shy away from teaching controversial topics, but cramming all of your black history instruction into one month does a disservice to your students. Integrate these ideas and important peoples throughout your lesson plans all year. Provide an adequate groundwork for students to understand the contributions of black Americans. By using lessons like these throughout the year, your students will have a better understanding of the wide-reaching accomplishments of their fellow Americans of all colors.


Happy Teaching!


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Michele Luck
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