It’s February. Black History Month.
And I gotta be honest. I’m always a bit conflicted about the idea. The concept of a month specifically set aside for the study of Black History started back in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” That particular week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
In 1976, the federal government followed the lead of the Black United Students at Kent State and established the entire month of February as Black History Month. President Ford urged Americans, and especially teachers and schools, to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
The hope was that Black History Month would provide a very intentional time for all of us to remember together the struggles of African Americans to obtain the basic civil rights afforded to others, the challenges African Americans have faced for centuries, and the contributions of African Americans to who we are. But . . . the real hope was that the story of essential people, events, and places, routinely ignored, would be incorporated throughout the school year.
Recent movies such as Selma and Marshall and books such as Hidden Figures do a great job of creating a sense of a specific time period, of overt racism and violence, the need for supporting the right to vote, the courage of everyday individuals, and of the thought process behind events. The message of Black History Month remains – that the quest for equality and dignity in the United States was difficult and dangerous. And that the extraordinary work of ordinary folks such as John Lewis, Jimmie Lee Jackson, and Amelia Boynton Robinson still isn’t finished.
But I’m still a bit conflicted.
Jose Vilson, teacher and activist, Read more
It’s been a while. Between spring break, family visits, emergency home repairs, college basketball March Madness, work related travel, and late night viewing of latest NetFlix fave Frontier, I’ve fallen behind a bit on the updates here.
It feels good to be back.
One of the things I missed over the last few weeks was the April 6 ceremony in Kansas City at the World War One Museum. The event commemorated the centennial of America’s entry into World War One. In case you missed it too, you can view the archived live stream online. And when you’re finished with browsing through the ceremony video, head back to the main section of the Museum site for other very useful resources. But be sure to budget some time – you quickly get sucked into the
The mission of the museum is pretty simple. National World War I Museum president Dr. Matthew Naylor outlines its purpose:
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is committed to remembering, understanding and interpreting the Great War and its enduring impact and this event underscores how this calamitous conflict continues to significantly affect everyone to this day.
The Museum was designated by Congress as the official WWI museum in 2004. And it is incredible. Soon after World War I ended, the Liberty Memorial Association formed to create a memorial to those who had served in the war and collected more than $2.5 million in less than two weeks. A tower was constructed along with displays. Later, in 2006, additional museum space was added.
What are some of the tools available? Read more
Yesterday, I felt smart. I had just finished a full day with some of the best social studies teachers around. We had talked about hyperdocs, completed a BreakoutEdu, identified photos as either real or fake, learned about a variety of graphic organizers, and participated in an awesome video conference focused on the Smithsonian Learning Lab with Darren Milligan and Kate Harris.
I felt smart. I had learned some stuff. I had taught some stuff. My brain was feeling good.
I should have stopped while I was ahead. Read more
No real topic at all here today. But after finishing a great day of learning with 25 super bright social studies teachers, I feel smarter. So just a few of the random things I picked up today and a few others that I’ve been reading, thinking, and talking about.
Cause if I can get smarter, anybody can get smarter.
Last week, we published Part One of my conversation with Darren Milligan and Ashley Naranjo from the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
Today? Part Two.