Black History Month is in full swing. With so much history and rich culture, there are plenty of ways to celebrate black history.
Pick out some books from your local library or book store that celebrate black history, culture and the struggles that have been overcome.
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermontt
“Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief-maker, and a wise, lovable creature who triumphs over larger foes. In this traditional Ashanti tale, Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey. Threatened by Fish and Falcon, he is saved from terrible fates by his sons. But which of his sons should Anansi reward? Calling upon Nyame, the God of All Things, Anansi solves his predicament in a touching and highly resourceful fashion. In adapting this popular folktale, Gerald McDermott merges the old with the new, combining bold, rich color with traditional African design motifs and authentic Ashanti language rhythms.” –macmillan.com
The Golden Girls of Rio by Nikkolas Smith
“The women athletes of the 2016 Summer Olympics captivated the world: Simon Biles, the most decorated American gymnast of all time; Katie Ledecky, who shattered swimming records in multiple events; Michelle Carter, the first American gold medalist in shot put; Simone Manuel, the first African American woman to medal in individual swimming. Their accomplishments amazed us, as did their personal stories of persistence and hard work. The Golden Girls of Rio focuses on the paths to glory for these women athletes, how they got their start and rose to meteoric heights in the Rio games. The other swimming and gymnastic teammates are included in the story as well. An inspiring story, bursting with color and action and life, that will make you smile to see these champion athletes as little girls, and to revisit their triumphs in achieving Olympic gold.”- skyponypress.com
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom By Carole Boston Weatherford
“This poetic book is a resounding tribute to Tubman’s strength, humility, and devotion. With proper reverence, Weatherford and Nelson do justice to the woman who, long ago, earned over and over the name Moses.”- books.disney.com
Tip: You can see many of these books read on YouTube. It’s no substitute for reading the books to your child yourself, but it can be a nice change with new voices bringing the stories to life.
There are plenty of movies and TV shows that engage children and teach on their level about the importance of Black History Month. Here are some options:
Our Friend, Martin (1999)
“Produced by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and DIC Entertainment in collaboration with the family of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Our Friend Martin is an animated, feature-length film that features two sixth-grade boys who are transported back to the time of civil rights leader Dr. King and who learn about his life and his contribution to humankind by experiencing the moment themselves and watching history in the making. The animated story is interspersed with authentic historical footage celebrating the life and work of Dr. King.”-barnesandnoble.com
Disney’s Ruby Bridges (1998)
“When bright six-year-old Ruby is chosen to be the first African-American student to integrate her local New Orleans elementary school, she is subjected to the true ugliness of racism for the very first time. But guided by the love of her mother and father, Ruby’s heroic struggle for a better education becomes a lesson for us all.”- movies.disney.com
The Watsons Go to Birmingham (2013)
“The Watsons set out on a family road trip where their experiences give them a newfound courage to stand up for what is right and helps them grow stronger as a family in the process.”- imbd.com
Tip: Don’t just sit your kiddos in front of the screen. Watch with them and when the movie is over, ask them questions about what they saw and how they felt. Discussion with an adult helps children interpret things better than when they do it on their own.
Wayne Country residents are so fortunate to have the Charles H. Write Museum at their disposal. Besides a must see tour of the And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture permanent exhibit, there is almost always a child friendly event at the museum that can enrich you and your children’s lives.
Visit thewright.org for additional information and to check the current events.
Look online for soul food. Chances are pretty good you’ve already been enjoying some soul food dishes already. Try preparing some of these entrees:
- Black-eyed peas
- Collard greens
- Fried chicken
- Ham hocks
Credit-Jennifer Woodard Maderazo – Flickr: Soul Food, CC BY 2.0
- Ox tails
- Peach cobbler
- Pigs’ feet
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet potato pie
Tip: Cooking these dishes yourself with help from the kids is the most enriching experience, however there are plenty of fantastic soul food restaurants that can give you a taste of these foods prepared perfectly.
History isn’t always something you read about, it’s also something you can listen to. Blues and R&B are very popular genres. Better yet, take a trip to the Motown Museum in Detroit. Visiting the museum is like taking a step back in time to a time when Detroit was really booming. Not only will you learn a lot, you’ll hear some famous music with roots closer to home than you may have realized.
Visit motownmuseum.org for additional details.
Tip: Your local library is a great source of music. Be sure to ask your librarian for suggestions.
These are just a taste of ways you can appreciate Black History Month. Get creative and maybe you’ll learn some things you never knew.