Black History Month - Join us in the Celebration!
Black History Month Theme for 2021 ~ The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity
COCISD presents a balanced, diverse curriculum throughout the school year with lessons on a variety of cultures and traditions. February's Black History Month offers us a special time to spotlight and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to our great nation and to the world.
Black History Month began as the brainchild of Dr. Carter G. Woodson after he participated in the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the emancipation of slaves. While there, he witnessed thousands of African Americans gathered to view exhibits showcasing the accomplishments and progress their people had made since the abolishment of slavery. Inspired by the overwhelming response, Woodson had the idea to create an organization specifically for the scientific study of Black life and history. He and four others formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, or the ASALH) on Sept. 9, 1915. Eleven years later, Woodson announced "Negro History Week" in February of 1926.
Eager for the movement to gain ground, Woodson chose the month of February for Negro History Week because it coincided with celebrations already held in many African American communities to celebrate the births of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. His aim wasn't to only include it in the traditional celebrations, but to encourage these communities to use the opportunity to extend their study of Black history in general. His goal was to change the focus of the celebrations from just two men to the greater view of the multitudes of African American men and women who had impacted history and humanity. His ultimate intention was for the study and celebration of Black history to continue not just for a week, but throughout the year.
Beginning in the 1940s, African Americans in West Virginia began to celebrate February as Negro History Month. By the late 1960s, African American college students led the charge to replace the name "Negro History" with "Black History" and to extend it to a month-long event. In 1976, President Gerald Ford issued the first Black History Month proclamation. Since then, the celebration has grown to include similar observances in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and the Netherlands, though not always in February.
While this is a special time to celebrate, we must always remember Woodson's original intent. The study of Black History should not be relegated to one specific month, but should be taught and studied year-round. It teaches people about the African American experience beyond stereotypes. Learning more about Black History and the unique struggles faced by African Americans, both in the past and in the present, is the bridge to understanding. Understanding is the bridge to a better future.
"Black History is American history." Morgan Freeman - American Actor
Profiles in History
Dr. Gladys Mae West is a mathematician whose work with the U.S. military played an integral role in the development of GPS (Global Positioning System). She went to work for the U.S. military in 1956, where she was only the second African American woman to be hired there. Dr. West has been inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame, one of the Air Force Space Commands highest honors.
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was a tap dancer and actor from 1878 through 1943, who was responsible for revolutionizing tap dancing and for bridging racial boundaries in the entertainment world of that time period. He was the best known and highest paid African-American entertainer in the first half of the 20th century.
Dr. Mae Carol Jemison is a medical doctor, engineer, astronaut, and author. As a crew member of the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s September 1992 mission, she was the first African-American woman to travel in space. She is also a dancer, actress and foreign language enthusiast.
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Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy: Resources for Anti-racist and Anti-bias Teaching - Today, many educators are re-examining their everyday teaching practices to ensure that all learners are taught from an anti-racist/anti-bias perspective. In support of these efforts, the Barbara Bush Foundation has created and curated a collection of educational resources for classroom use.