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Black History Month

Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a time when the nation reflects and pays tribute to the generations of African Americans who fought with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society, according to the official website. There are teaching resources provided from the National Archives, Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum available here

Read an excerpt from Dr. Bailey’s “Importance of Broadening Our View of History”:

You can tell a great deal about a country and a people by what they deem important enough to remember, to create moments for — what they put in their museums, their textbooks and what they celebrate. We also can learn more about a country by what it chooses to forget — its mistakes, its disappointments, and its embarrassments. The author James Baldwin wrote, “It is the past that makes the present coherent.” For many Americans, Black History Month is a time to reflect on the past, recognize the present and look forward to the possibilities of the future. A broader view of our histories can benefit all students and make school a place where all children can feel valued, appreciated and safe.

Below are a few lessons learned about why teaching and learning African American and other histories of our diverse U.S population is so important in today’s landscape.

  • History grounds us in our roots. We need to understand where we have come from in order to understand where we are going.
  • History helps us understand change. History is a continuous documentation of our past, including great triumphs and grave mistakes.  History is also about the place.
  • History reveals patterns in our pasts. Another way this lesson of change is important is by helping us understand the patterns that arise in our shared timeline. History repeats itself, as the saying goes. 
  • History provides a foundation for activism. Only by having a firm grasp on history can we tackle the kinds of political, social or educational reform that we want to see happen.
  • History makes us more empathetic. It also provides a rather strong foundation for empathy across cultures. 
  • History can inspire us to learn more. Finally, history is important because it is a long, nearly endless collection of stories, lessons, and philosophies to learn.
  • U.S. history, Colorado and Denver history makes no sense without African American, Latino, Native American and Asian history.
  • Our nation’s present problems with race and intolerance make no sense if we don’t know the history behind them.
  • All peoples’ history is American history, and it should be taught throughout the year across the curriculum—not confined to a single month.

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