By Dennette Bailey
February is Black History Month or African American History Month. It was first started by historian, Carter G. Woodson in 1926 as Negro History Week and took place the second week in February during that time. Carter believed that African Americans were not acknowledged for their contributions and he believed that the education system suppressed and or ignored the contributions African Americans made to the United States (for example, not including or downplaying African Americans in historical text books) so he started the celebration to combat that problem.
The United States utilizes the month of February to observe achievements that African Americans have made throughout our nation’s history. As noted in the book Carter G. Woodson: Black History Pioneer this was done because both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born in February.
If you and your family are looking to celebrate black history month it is important to understand why the United States has such a celebration and then have the means to help educate your children on the subject. One method to help introduce the subject of black history month, as well as teach your children about the accomplishments of African Americans, is through movies. I have listed some movies that I think will help you introduce the celebration. I am suggesting movies because in addition to the factual information, these movies tend to help convey the emotions involved on the subject and all humans, regardless of our race, creed or religion can connect with the emotions of others.
1. A Ballerina’s Tale
This movie is about the 1st African American principal dancer at the New York American Ballet Theatre. It is appropriate for all ages and your artistic child will appreciate the values demonstrated in this movie.
2. Betty and Corretta
This movie tells the historical story of the women married to Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X . It does a great job teaching your youngster how important women are no matter what their role may be. It is appropriate for ages 10 and over.
3. Garrett’s Gift
This movie is about the inventor Garrett Morgan and his idea for the traffic light. It is appropriate for all ages.
4. The Journey of Henry Box Brown
This movie is about a former slave who shipped himself to freedom in a crate. I would recommend this movie for children over the age of 5 years with adult supervision.
This movie is about the Civil Right’s March organized by Martin Luther King Jr. I would suggest this movie for teens and older children as it has some language and scene depictions that may require further explanation by a caring adult.
6. The Book of Negroes
This film is about African American women who strive for liberty after having been a slave. This might also be better suited for older children and require supervision during viewing.
Some key goals while talking to our children about black history month should include having an open dialogue about people who are different from us, why it is important to acknowledge the contributions that they make to the society we live in, and how their contribution can motivate us to also make contributions to our society for the benefit of all people.
Happy Black History Month!
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- Photo credit: AceShowBiz