Why do we celebrate Black History Month? What challenges come with celebrating Black lives and movements a single month of the year? Who gets celebrated? Who gets left out?
“But for the most part, educators say, K-12 students who do learn about black history are hearing about the same few historical figures over and over: Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and former President Barack Obama. While those lives are undoubtedly worthy of study, they do not exist in a vacuum.” --How Black Lives Matter is Changing What Students Learn During Black History Month, TIME
We posed these questions to our students, and decided to approach this month with thoughtfulness and intetionality. Students spent the month researching lesser-known important Black figures and movements including: Phillis Wheatley (first Black poet), Alicia Garza (Black Lives Matter Co-Founder), Crispus Attucks (first American killed in the American Revolution), Jean-Michel Basquiat (Brooklyn artist), and many others.
As part of their performance task, students had to prepare to share a live "report" for our "BKI Radio Show." Students had to use their research to report on a number of topics including background, contributions, and opinion questions such as -- How does your figure feel about the current administration? What advice do they have for middle school students? What saying do they likely live by?
At Brooklyn Independent, we are committed to celebrating and honoring Black lives and movements all year -- not just in February, not just during a Civil Rights unit.
We believe ALL history is Black history.
Original artwork by: BKI Students, Murray & Romeo
Photography credit: David Gray