Black History Month takes place throughout October, with schools and colleges teaching students about moments in history that focus on black culture. Many have criticised the idea of ‘Black History Month’. Actor, Morgan Freeman, has publicly denounced the month saying that black history and culture should not be only taught for one month of the year. Others have stressed the importance of the month, as it is a fantastic time to celebrate and highlight the impact that black culture has had on todays society.
There are many famous landmark stories from the likes of Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King which have become pillars of black history and are favourites that are taught during Black History Month. However, it is the unsung heroes that we wanted to celebrate.
Many can recall the tale of Rosa Parks refusing to give her seat on a bus to a white passenger however most are unaware of Claudette Colvin who, aged 15, was dragged from a bus by two police officers, arrested and taken to an
adult jail for defying bus segregation. Claudette’s act of bravery happened a full nine months before the actions of Rosa Parks.
Claudette Colvin (born Sept 5th 1939)
Matthew Henson (Aug 8th 1866-March 9th 1955)
Or the story of Matthew Alexander Henson who became the first African-American Arctic explorer, and is credited by many as the first man to reach the North Pole, in 1909. Or Miriam Makeba who was known as “Mama Africa’, a South African singer who refused to wear make up of curl her hair for performances, so proudly wore what later became known internationally as the “Afro-look”. All activists in their own right and all important figures in Black History.
Miriam Makeba (March 4th 1932 – Nov 9th 2008)
So, despite the controversy surrounding the month its ability to shine a light on the lesser known stories of black culture should be praised. For more stories like the ones mentioned here, visit http://bit.ly/1LYUFE1
As of 2021, we have added two new Experiences that celebrates the achievements of Harriet Tubman and Mary Seacole. We’re very excited to add these Experiences to our growing library and we will continue year on year to look at the diversity of our content and help teachers champion diversity in their classrooms.