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Black History Month for Kids

I've had a couple of people reach out to me about activities that they could do with their younger kids to learn about Black History. So I gathered up some ideas as a jumping-off point. This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but just some ideas to get started. If your child shows interest in any of these areas, feed that interest. Learning is never hard if a child is interested in it.


Links for all of these items are provided. Also, you can probably find many of these titles at your local library.


CIVIL RIGHTS


I thinking that it is important for children to see that they are not spectators in protecting people's rights. These books focus on The Children's March in Birmingham, AL. Hundreds of children marched for equality and went to jail to fight for what was right.








When we think of bus desegregation, Rosa Parks is usually the first person that comes to mind. However, Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old living in Montgomery, AL, was arrested on March 2, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white woman. This was months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus and sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Perhaps after reading these books, you and your child could ride on your own community's bus and discuss the books and the bravery of this young teenage girl.








When it came to school desegregation, children were on the front lines. They bravely walked through crowds of screaming adults every day in order to attend classes. There is a delightful movie about Ruby Bridges and several books about these children that help show what they went through. Also, I think it is important to point out that for a lot of children Ruby Bridges is about the age of their grandparents so that they will understand that these events were no so long ago.









The movie "Green Book" made many people aware of this former necessity of black life in America. These Green Books informed black travelers where they could eat and sleep while on vacation during segregation. The Smithsonian Channel put together a truly eye-opening and informative documentary called The Green Book: Guide to Freedom. Also, there are several facsimiles of these books that are available to purchase, and you could try to plan a trip with your children using one of these books. Were there a lot of places for people to stay? What would happen if they went somewhere that they were not welcome? How would you feel on vacation if you didn't know where was safe and where was not?




After learning about the Green Book, there is a natural transition into talking about how African Americans fought to get equal treatment in restaurants and other businesses. The Greensboro Sit-Ins are a good way to bring up that subject. If you happen to be in Washington DC, you can see the actual counter at the American History Museum.






This year everyone is talking about voting, but it wasn't so long ago that not everyone had the opportunity to vote. When you go out to vote this year, be sure to bring your kids and impress on them how important participating in our government is. Also, you could take your child to your local registrar's office. I am sure that they would be happy to talk to your child about how the process of registering to vote works.





SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY


There are several great books for kids about African American scientists. A few years ago, the world was introduced to the Hidden Figures of NASA, but for something more modern, you could also watch Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson.








JAZZ


Music is a great way to introduce kids to different times in history.



Jazz For Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle, And Shake


One of the things that I really appreciate about this album is that it features many of the artists who made these songs famous. It is one thing to listen to a studio band or group of kids sing jazz, but it is another thing to listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing jazz.












DANCE


There is so much available on YouTube that I can't hope to give enough examples to even scratch the surface. Plus, watching these videos is a great way to see the progression of different styles of dance.






The more you watch, the more that YouTube will suggest. It is like dancing down the proverbial rabbit hole.


If you would like to pair a video to a few children's books, watch the videos of Misty Copeland and then read about how she got to be a ballerina.
















I could go on and on listing things, but then Black History Month would be over before I ever got this posted. If I can I will continue to look for more resources, but hopefully, this will give you a jumping-off point.


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