I’ve been so amazed at the incredible displays and pieces of art that educators have shared from their schools and libraries to celebrate Black History Month! I mean, come on – this is stunning! Unfortunately for my readers, I’m not much of an artist, which puts many of these beautiful pieces outside of my grasp. But what I lack in drawing and painting skills, I make up for in curiosity and research prowess – so our display took a different turn. Research is my love language, and I love to share fascinating bits of information – so each day of February, we featured a different Black history fact.
My goal with these facts was to show students that while the Civil Rights Movement is a important part of Black history, there is so much more to learn, appreciate, and discover. Black history is American history, and so we know that it includes tragedy and joy, celebrations and losses.
With a mix of well-known figures and new faces, I also wanted to remind them that Black history isn’t something old and boring and in the past. It’s lively and engaging and it’s happening right now!
Each afternoon, that day’s fact was retired and added to the display on the circulation desk. That way, if you missed a day’s fact, you could catch up the next day!It was a fun and exciting way to share some Black History Month facts that didn’t make it into our books and lessons. Many of my facts came from this awesome list from CafeMom. I added pictures, printed them out, and was good to go! All month long, students parked themsle
Here are a few of our favorite facts:
- Misty Copeland is a ballet dancer for the American Ballet Theater. She is the first Black woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history. Copeland is also an author, spokeswoman for Under Armour, professional speaker, and even a Barbie Doll!
- In 2008, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt became the first man to ever set three world records in a single Olympic games! He is now retired, and is a world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay. He is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time.
- Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong (1900-1971) was one of the most influential artists of all time. He transformed jazz into an art form, and his trumpet style is still imitated today.
- Sure, he’s an aerospace engineer, but Lonnie G. Johnson (born 1949) is best known for creating the world-famous Super Soaker water gun, which has earned more than $200 million in sales. (Perhaps you’ve contributed to that number every summer!) When he’s not adding to summertime fun, Johnson spends most of his time inventing mechanical and electrical systems for NASA rockets, and has earned more than 40 patents for his work.
- Athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith made history — and headlines — when they raised their black-gloved fists on the awards stand at the 1968 Olympics. Both also wore Black socks and no shoes on the podium, representing Black poverty in America.
- The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, snagged several Guinness World Records, including highest annual earnings for a pop star, best-selling album of all time for his classic, Thriller, and most Grammy Awards won in a year (he took home 8).
- If Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then Beyonce is the Queen Bey! Beyonce holds the record for highest number of Grammy Awards won in a year by a woman — she took home six in 2010.
- Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. After retiring from baseball, he helped establish the African-American owned and controlled Freedom Bank.
Black History Month is important, and I’m working on creating a more meaningful and engaging experience for my students this year. Learn more, and follow along, here.