by Alex Duran, Special Projects Manager, Program Design and Sarah Cassell, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing

February is one of our favorite months. We love celebrating Black History Month with our students. It’s a great opportunity for us to introduce them to a variety of Black leaders—past and present—who’ve helped shaped our communities, our country and our world as well as spark year-round learning about the culture and contributions of the Black community. To prepare your lesson plan, here are a handful of our favorite resources and activities to share with students this month.

Read 28 Days

Written by Charles R. Smith and illustrated by Shane W. Evans, 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World features 28 influential African American leaders in Black history. Each day this month, you can share new inspiring stories with your students.

To learn more about what inspired Charles R. Smith to write the book, check out his guest post on the Nerdy Book Club.

Celebrate Black History Month with Your Students

Explore the #1000BlackGirlBooks Resource Guide

In 2015, then sixth-grader Marley Dias was tired of reading books where the main characters didn’t look like her. So, she decided to take action. She launched a social media campaign. Her goal was to collect 1,000 books with black female protagonists to donate to libraries across the country. Today, she’s collected more than 9,000. Check out the campaign’s data base for ideas and titles to share with the young readers in your life. 

Celebrate Black History Month with Your Students

Organize a Family Engagement Night

Our AmeriCorps members across the network have hosted a variety of activities to engage students and their families in Black History Month. Previously, a City Year Philadelphia team hosted an afterschool performance where students had the opportunity to talk about their personal histories through speeches, poems, dances, songs, raps and drawing. 

At City Year Los Angeles, another team hosted a Black History Month Literacy Family Engagement Night where attendees had the chance to learn about famous black leaders in civil rights, arts, sciences, politics and sports and participate in fun games and activities related to black history and literacy. Events and initiatives for your events could include a Living Museum of Important Figures in Black History, a schoolwide Civil Rights facts themed scavenger hunt or trivia games.

Celebrate Black History Month with Your Students

Watch Interviews and Speeches by Black Leaders

Thanks to technology, it’s easy to hear directly from leaders and influencers who are doing amazing work. Here are a few of our favorite interviews available on BET.com: Aja Brown speaks about her service as mayor of the city of Compton, California. Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Global Head of Women and Black Community Engagement at Google, talks about her work building diversity and inclusion in technology. You can also learn how creativity and education influenced visual artists like Daniel Hibbert and Fahamu Pecou.

Another favorite of ours? Luvvie Ajayi’s TED Talk. In this video, she teaches us how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to serve humanity.

Celebrate Black History Month with Your Students

What activities, books and videos did you or your students enjoy? Share them with us on social media @CityYear!


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