Challenge: Beyond the Big Five

A simple challenge to take this year’s Black History Month beyond the basics.

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So let’s talk about something.  America has a month devoted to African-American history (February).  Most teachers and school districts these days fall in line with this and do at least a few activities relating to the theme.

The problem?  Teachers, and schools, tend to focus on the Big Five:
(Paraphrases of inaccurate comments I’ve heard from schoolchildren in parenthesis.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(that guy who dreamed the Civil Rights Movement.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Rosa Parks
(King’s wife who sat down on the bus.  She was so tired she just couldn’t get up again!)

Jackie Robinson
(they let him play baseball with the white guys, and he was good at it.)

Harriet Tubman
(she freed all the slaves, so Lincoln almost had nothing left to do later.)

And of course, Abraham Lincoln
(he’s white, but he helped the slaves so much.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Sometimes Nelson Mandela is thrown in, even though he is African, not African-American!

There are a few reasons for this.  African-American history and culture is so ignored by the mainstream culture, I’ve actually encountered people who don’t know that there were other notable blacks.  Not to mention, Husband (who doesn’t study this, but has been around when the kids and I read) got more questions right on a Black History Month quiz even compared to his African-American co-workers.  I would say that this blog helped educate him, but this was before blogging, when we were just starting to study Black History!

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