Celebrating Black History and Culture Beyond February: A Guide for Inclusive Classrooms

Explore ideas for extending the celebration of Black history and culture beyond February.

While February is officially designated as Black History Month, it serves as a poignant reminder for educators to embrace and celebrate black history and culture throughout the entire school year. For teachers seeking to make their classrooms more inclusive, a great starting point is to examine and enhance the representation of black voices through various resources like books, primary sources, and video materials.

Books: Ensure that your classroom library reflects the diversity of the world by incorporating books from black authors. Familiarize yourself with the wealth of literature available and consider using resources like We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization that offers information, resources, and grant opportunities to diversify book collections. Keep yourself updated on new releases by following authors and publishers on social media, creating an environment that fosters continuous exploration and inclusion.

Primary Sources: For educators in English or history, the integration of primary sources is likely part of your teaching toolkit. To deepen students’ understanding of Black History, expose them to a broader range of primary sources. The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian offer valuable repositories. The Library of Congress, through its Research Guides, provides a wealth of information, while the African American History Online page showcases an array of digital collections, exhibitions, newspapers, and more. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture allows for targeted searches based on topics, date/era, and object types, covering aspects such as education, music, military, and sports.

Digital Media: Incorporating digital media into your curriculum is an effective way to enhance student learning across subjects. Explore eMediaVA, which features four collections under the theme “Celebrating Black History and Culture.” Spanning Literature and Media, The Arts, Civics and Society, and STEM, these collections offer a diverse array of content catering to various interests and subjects, ensuring there’s something valuable for everyone in your classroom.

By consciously diversifying your classroom resources, you contribute to a more inclusive learning environment that celebrates the richness of black history and culture throughout the entire year. Let this commitment be a continual practice, fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation among your students.

Tara Williams in an elementary librarian in Washington County Public Schools and an eMediaVA Ambassador.

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