It’s Black History Month, and the perfect time to celebrate the often overlooked achievements of Black Americans throughout history. Black history is American history and an essential part of our country’s story and future. February is the perfect time to talk to children not only about the achievements and triumphs, but the obstacles and roadblocks that Black Americans have faced and continue to face today. We’ve rounded up some helpful resources, books, and local events to help get those important conversations started.
“Talking Gets Us There”
The first step is talking about it! Kids can change the world, but first they have to be invited to the conversation. Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman caught up with PBS Kids in this video to share her poem “Talking Gets Us There”. In it, Gorman shares how talking and using your voice can bring about change.
“It’s normal to notice what makes us different
Because what makes us different is
What makes each of us so special.”
– Amanda Gorman, Inaugural Poet
Things to Watch during Black History Month
Fun Facts about Dr. Mae C. Jemison by Educational Videos for Students
Ruby Bridges Biography by Homeschool Pop
The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Kid President
Expand Horizons with these Books About Black History
Reading books with diverse characters and stories can not only help build empathy in children, but expose them to ideas that may differ from their own. According to DiverseBooks.org, “It’s important that marginalized children aren’t the only ones reading and being exposed to diverse books, nor are their lives the only ones that will be enriched by reading them. Reading books that represent different abilities, cultures, beliefs, and skin colors help us change our attitude toward those differences.”
We’ve rounded up 10 books that explore the lives of fictional and real Black Americans and share their stories of overcoming the barriers.
Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, AL by Hester Bass
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Black Women in Science: A Black History Book for Kids by PhD Pellum, Kimberly Brown
Drive through history with a Huntsville Civil Rights Tour
Rocket City Civil Rights has put together a driving tour that highlights some of the major sites for the Civil Rights movement in Huntsville. The self-guided tour takes your through over 15 sites with historical background and information about each location. The tour includes Huntsville’s segregated movie theaters, sit-in locations and more. Each site has a brief description with additional information.
Learn about notable Black Huntsvillians
The Huntsville Madison County Public Library has an amazing digital archive collection, and they’re putting together some wonderful Hometown History videos on their YouTube channel. Here are the stories of eight educators that led notable careers in Huntsville and Madison County.
Catch a Virtual Story Time with Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater
Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater and Academy is celebrating Black History Month throughout February with virtual story times read by special guests. Due to copyright laws, the story times will be posted in a private Facebook group that can be joined here.
Explore hair’s role in Black American culture and community at the HMA
The Huntsville Museum of Art explores the link between individuality and assimilation in their exhibit Encounters: Althea Murphy-Price. She explains, “I am fascinated by the inexplicable link between the subject of hair and its influence on our social culture and personal identity. Much of my inspiration has derived from hair’s significant relevance to Black American culture and community.” The exhibit will be on display until May 23, and visiting in February is a great way to celebrate Black History Month in Huntsville!
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.