February is Black History Month
Too few of us know about the work of Fannie Lou Hamer to secure Voting Rights for African Americans, or about Ida B. Wells’ leadership in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Too little is shared about the efforts of labor leader Asa Philip Randolph who worked alongside Bayard Rustin to organize the March on Washington. Not enough of us have enjoyed the novels of Octavia Butler, the essays of James Baldwin, the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, or the plays of August Wilson. Not enough is said of the mathematical genius of Majorie Lee Browne and Katherine Johnson or the scientific contributions of Joseph Graves and George Carruthers.
Black History Month provides the nation with an opportunity to hear the voices and experiences of people who have historically been oppressed, ignored, marginalized and overlooked in our country.
While we strive to incorporate Black history throughout our curriculum all year long, there is always more to learn. One available, online resource is Center for Racial Justice in Education Black History Month resources. Of course, learning about Black historical figures and unsung heroes isn’t just for February. To grow your knowledge base and understanding further, you might check out subscription box services like Noir Reads and Call Number that deliver book club picks to your door.
Each year, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) choses a theme, this year’s theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” exploring the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.
Black History Month Spark Talks
At KabShab throughout February, Mr. Ribay is leading and organizing Spark Talks, a chance for our community to learn about an “often overlooked Black person the speaker admires for their contributions to a certain field/discipline.”
Lewis R Gordon
Our final Spark Talk of the month, Lewis R Gordon. Discussed in this video, by our Director of Admissions, Robert Smith, along with our Dean of Jewish Studies, Cody Bahir.
Spark Talks: Mae Jemison
Ms. Vicenty shared the incredible Mae Jemison with us in Kab Shab, despite the difficulties of picking just one black scientist to highlight, we can see why Ms. Vicenty chose this incredible individual.
From Ms. Ratledge, our Dean of History
From Mr. Cashman-Brown, History Teacher
Every February when we embark on another Black History Month questions arise that criticize the endeavor, questions such as “shouldn’t every month be Black History Month?” and “What about other histories? Don’t they deserve their own months?” In regards to the first question, certainly exploring Black history all year long is a worthwhile endeavor (see #BlackHistory365). And in regards to the second question, indeed other non-White histories deserve close study. Why do I say non-White? What about White history? Well, that’s the default history that we all get all the time. Without effort, White history permeates. It’s just there. It’s just everywhere.
So, why is does matter to have a month that puts Black history in the forefront? Well, on the whole, most people in the United States don’t have a clue about Black history. They may know the basics (Slavery, Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson, Jim Crow, Rosa Parks), but they don’t know the expanse, the depth, or the breadth? What know you of Black Wall Street? The Tulsa Race Massacre? Redlining? Afrofuturism? Phillis Wheatley? The Stono Rebellion? Read More and view the complete reading list [HERE]