Through first-class education, a generation marches down the long uncertain road of the future with confidence. Wynton Marsalis
“The crisis in Black education” is the theme – and challenge – of Black History Month 2017. Perhaps more than ever resources and learning opportunities abound. And, more than even, the challenge is well nigh overwhelming – for families, or schools, or this democracy. At the national, state and local levels concerned individuals and organizations are struggling to stem the tide of fake news, alternative facts, pull-back on funding for arts and humanities, and potential disruption of the very premise of public education.
Fortunately, the concern is nonpartisan and ubiquitous – and the resources expand by the hour!
Carter G. Woodson, (1875-1950) noted Black scholar and historian and son of former slaves, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, which was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). He initiated Black History Week, February 12, 1926. For many years the second week of February (chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln) was celebrated by Black people in the United States. In 1976, as part of the nation’s Bicentennial, it was expanded and became established as Black History Month, and is now celebrated throughout North America.
Here are just a few of the opportunities to learn, to gather, to focus on how best we can individually and as communities fully understand then meet the challenge. We won’t find answers in one short month – but we won’t seek answers until we come to grip with the questions. Not all but some, or even one, may speak to you as a parent, grandparent, student, teacher, voter, employer and citizen aware that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov – brief background on the history of the month, resources of national agencies – many of which are accessible online.
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2017/cb17-ff01.html – relevant statistics from the Census Bureau
http://www.naapidatnight.com – Help planning African American Parents Involvement Day/Night – many local schools will sponsor related events
http://www.educationworld.com/a_special/black_history.shtml – Lesson plans – various
Things to do:
http://www.si.edu/events/heritagemonth – Smithsonian resources
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/national-museum-of-african-american-history-and-culture – Resources of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Local calendars – a few of the many:
Other local events – very incomplete list!
http://oshag.stkate.edu/all-events – Threads Dance Project–The Secrets of Slave Songs
http://www.mnhs.org/event/2193 – music by African American composers
http://www.sowahmensah.com/calendar/February 11, 2017 – Macalester Ensemble Black History Month Concert, Mairs Concert Hal, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, 8:00 pm – Free
https://civilrightsminneapolis.wordpress.com/black-history-month/ – check the blogs
http://www.hclib.org/about/news/2017/january/black-history-month -Includes a good list of related readings