3 minute read

15 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

Black History Month (February) is often something that is recognized at school, but is your family doing anything to celebrate or discuss it at home? Literature, food, music and art are fabulous ways to expose children to different cultures and experiences. Plus, early exposure to a variety of books and characters helps develop acceptance and understanding at a young age. If you haven’t started diversifying your family’s bookshelf, consider doing so this month. Here are 15 ways to celebrate Black History Month.

Create a beautiful African Maasai Family mural.

Find instructions from our “Art with Alyssa” contributor at www.sandiegofamily.com/forthe-kids/crafts-for-kids/africanmaasai-family-art-project.

Create art inspired by Black history.

Harriet Tubman was perhaps the most famous and successful “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, the intricate network of people, safe houses and trail routes followed by men and women enslaved in the south to make it to freedom in the 1800s. Along the way, trail demarcations such as broken pottery and chalk symbols on barns let Tubman and those who escaped know where to travel or lodge safely. It is even believed that hanging quilt “codes” helped lead the way to safety. There are several quilt patterns thought to have been used, such as the bowtie quilt block pattern, which let travelers know that finer clothes were needed to “blend in.”

To commemorate Black History Month, do some research as a family on the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman. Then construct your own bowtie quilt square with paper. Instructions: www.sandiegofamily.com/for-the-kids/crafts-for-kids

Trace your hands.

We recommend keeping People Colors art supplies (crayons, colored pencils, craft paper and shapes) on hand at home (available at Lakeshore Learning). They allow children to create art that reflects skin tones they see in the world. Directions for this project: www.sandiegofamily.com/ for-the-kids/crafts-forkids/diversity-craft.

Read children’s books that feature Black characters.

Ezra Jack Keats was an award-winning author and illustrator who believed all children should see themselves in books. Some of his beloved classics include

Read children’s books that teach something about Black history, such as Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine (ages 4–8) and The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson (ages 5+).

Support a San Diego Black-owned restaurant or business. Find a list at https:// blog.sandiego.org/2020/06/supportingblack-owned-san-diego-businesses.

Read a children’s book by a Black author, such as Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry or Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood.

Cook a traditional soul food meal.

Learn about an unsung hero of Black history, such as Jesse L. Brown or Daisy Bates.

Support a local Black artist, poet or musician.

Listen to music by jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington; then follow up with the book This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt (ages 3–7).

Engage in healthy conversations about Black history with your family.

Listen (and learn the lyrics) to the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech (or listen to it on YouTube).

Read children’s books that raise awareness of civil rights: www.sandiegofamily.com/for-the-kids/ book-multimedia-reviews/9-children-sbooks-to-raise-awareness-of-civil-rights. v

Lisa Gipson is the managing editor of San Diego Family. She treasures the time in college when she got to hear poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou speak in person.

SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021