7 creative ways to mark Black History Month in your school (2023)

Image credit: Families Online

Black History Month is an opportunity to ensure that all young people, no matter their background, learn about Black history, the achievements of Black Britons and their contributions to British society. As David Olusoga said in the recent BBC series Black and British, “this is our national story, this is British history, it belongs to all of us.”

There are plenty of creative ways to engage with the month beyond school assemblies – we have put together a few suggestions alongside some useful resources below.

1. Use literacy to explore British history

Narratives of the African American experience and South African apartheid are important for young people to learn about, but it is equally important to learn about the experiences of Black people in Britain. One way to explore key events from history is through creative writing and poetry.

An event schools often choose to study is Windrush – you may have missed the day to mark it back in June if your school was closed, but there are lots of resources out there to help, such as these informative resources from the Black Cultural Archives to provide context, a range of creative ideas from Brent Museum & Archives, these writing ideas from The British Library, and this Royal Museums Greenwich resource that includes a spoken word activity.

The Black in the Day Instagram account is a submission based archive of black life in Britain - you could choose a selection to look at with pupils and practice visual literacy by reading the photos.

To find other events as inspiration for creative writing, and to link to existing history or geography units, online tools you might find useful are Boukman Academy, a pan-African online school, and Black Past which includes a list of short descriptions of major events that have contributed to the shaping of global African history, including the UK.

Our resource uses poetry and zine making to consider the history of racial and social justice activists Eric and Jessica Huntley, exploring issues around identity, community and voice.

2. Celebrate the achievements of Black Britons

Instead of simply sharing a short biography of a person with your class, you could challenge them to do their own research and put together a creative fact-file, or use drama to role-play key events and hot-seat as individuals. The Black History Month website is a useful tool for information and profiles on a variety of people and events. This year they have created a resource pack including posters, worksheets and teaching notes.

The Black Curriculum have learning packages and some free resources for KS2 and KS3 which focus on some notable figures such as Lilian Bader and Fanny Eaton, and include an animation with prompts for pupils to respond to, from portrait drawing to poetry.

You can find video and sound profiles of some notable figures on the BBC along with creative activities and ideas. For example, why not use this video about Victorian Showman Pablo Fanque to inspire performances in P.E? Or have a go at designing and writing your own show advertisements?

Also keep an eye on our Create Jobs site where we will be profiling the work of young creatives from our employability programmes, as well as work from other creative industry partners.

(Video) 10 Fun Preschool Black History Month Activities | Kindergarten Activities

3. Use resources which include Black people and their stories

As an ex-teacher myself, I know how easy it is to fall back on the tried and tested storybooks in the reading corner, or the films you watch in English. But this Black History Month could be an opportunity to assess whether your list of texts are as inclusive as they can be, and for you to discover more diverse resources for your classroom across the curriculum where you could learn, for example, about Black scientists such as Maggie Aderin-Pocock or Katherine Johnson or Black designers like Jessica Bellamy or Ozwald Boateng.

Puffin have lists of books for teaching Black history along with empowering stories, and The National Literacy Trust has collated lists of texts that exemplify the principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

This list by Into Film aims to highlight the range and diversity of Black filmmaking talent, both on screen and behind the camera. With additional info on age ranges, length, and synopsis, you could use it to choose your next visual literacy text, and many of the suggestions have linked Into Film resources to get you started.

In music lessons you could explore calypso music in Britain, the history of blues and rag time, the context of Notting Hill Carnival, learn reggae or listen to some Highlife.

4. See (or take part in!) a show, exhibition or performance

A trip in person might not be possible at this stage in the year, but a virtual one could be – or you might choose to plan one for the future.

The Black Cultural Archives in Brixton has an online version of their exhibition Breaking Barriers about the journeys of pioneering Black British women who have overcome adversity, with oral history interviews accompanied by a portrait photograph.

You could watch an online show – such as Pegasus Opera’s virtual concert ‘Legacy and Hope’ inspired by music from the Caribbean diaspora. It will feature professional opera singers of Caribbean heritage, emerging artists from diverse backgrounds, two London schools, and their community choir.

Dance Days are offering workshops both in school and online to explore dances from Africa, which could work for P.E or outside of classroom learning.

(Video) How To Do Black History Month Right!

It is also worth noting this recent report by the National Trust outlining their commitment to ensuring that the direct and indirect links to colonialism and historic slavery in many of their properties are properly represented and shared. You may want to consider a virtual ‘trip’ to an establishment where you could address some of these issues.

5. Search LookUp for more resources

Our online LookUp platform allows teachers to quickly and easily browse schools programmes, events, resources and opportunities from London’s arts & cultural sector, and refine results based on Key Stage, artform and more.

Recently, we've specifically asked organisations to add resources, programmes and events relating to Black History Month. Check out the Black History Month tag on the site to browse relevant content.

If you know of a resource or event that isn’t isn't currently listed which you’d like to share with other teachers, please do get in touch.

6. Discuss the Black Lives Matter Movement

Black History Month is a time to focus on parts of history which are often over-looked, and the recent Black Lives Matter protests – particularly surrounding events in the USA – are not just linked to our history but are an example of history in the making. This October could be the moment to set aside time to make sure your pupils have had a chance to understand what is happening and why.

You will likely have already started or continued conversations with your students following the recent news coverage, and tools such as Newsround are helpful for fact sharing, while creative activities can support young people in expressing their responses to it.

One creative way to address Black Lives Matter is through Votes for Schools – where subjects are set in a framework that encourages children and young people to express their opinions. They currently have free resources for KS1 (‘Should you stand up for other people?’) and KS2 (‘Will the recent anti-racism protests lead to change in the US?’).

Serpentine Galleries’ poetry resource from their Cracks in the Curriculum workshops aims to open up a space for teachers and students to talk about race and racism in the classroom, with exercises in exploring the principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

(Video) Top 10 Fun Facts about George Washington Carver | Black History Month for Students

Show Racism the Red Card offer training, workshops and activities to educate young people about the causes and consequences of racism – including some online teacher modules.

7. Make sure Black history isn’t confined to a month

Black History Month can be an opportunity for educators to make a conscious decision to go further in diversifying the curriculum for the whole of the academic year. As a start there are small things, which many teachers are already doing, which can make a difference to supporting inclusivity in the classroom – such as making sure all ethnicities are represented in photos, artwork or pictures used in resources across all subjects, all year round. Any of the Black History Month resources or activities in this blog, or elsewhere, can be taught year-round, not only in October.

This Guardian article by Lola Okolosie outlines three ways for UK schools to improve their race relations now, and BLAM UK offer resources and training for educators wishing to learn how to embed black British cultural heritage and African and Afro-Caribbean histories into their everyday teaching.

Where next?

  • How to re-imagine Black History Month in your school – resources & ideas to help schools embed Black history across the curriculum & throughout the year
  • Teaching for Creativity – a collection of resources supporting teachers to develop young people’s creativity through a broad and diverse curriculum
  • Join our Creative Teaching Community – An informal and friendly online space for teachers to come together, chat, and connect over a shared love of arts, culture and creativity

FAQs

How do you mark Black History Month? ›

8 Ways to Honor Black History Month
  1. Support Black-Owned Businesses: ...
  2. Learn About Noteworthy Black Figures and Their Contributions: ...
  3. Donate to Charities That Support Anti-Racism Equity and Equality: ...
  4. Purchase, Read, and Share Books by Black Authors: ...
  5. Support and Learn About Black Women:
4 Feb 2022

What are 3 ways that you can keep the conversation about Black history going year-round? ›

8 Ways to Teach Kids About Black History Year-Round
  • Don't wait until Black History Month to teach your child black history. ...
  • Learn more about black history yourself. ...
  • Think locally. ...
  • Watch movies about black history and/or the black experience during family movie night.
3 Mar 2020

Why do we mark Black History Month? ›

It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in Ireland, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.

What can teachers do for Black History Month? ›

The Do's and Don'ts of Teaching Black History Month
  • Incorporate black history year-round, not just in February. ...
  • Continue Learning. ...
  • Reinforce that “black” history is American history. ...
  • Connect issues in the past to current issues to make history relevant to students' lives.
18 Feb 2021

What should I write about in black history? ›

Black History Month Writing Prompts
  • Describe how in the past some people used racial segregation to exclude others and how doing so caused conflict.
  • Racism looks like…
  • Imagine being an African-American adult 80 years ago. ...
  • Describe a world with no conflict or hopelessness. ...
  • Write a biography about Harriet Tubman.

What highlight goes with black? ›

"The best tones on black hair tend to be caramels and lighter browns," explains Papanikolas. And depending on your skin tone, the color can be adjusted to go warmer or cooler to find the most flattering hue for you.

What are some black accomplishments? ›

Track star Jesse Owens winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Actress Hattie McDaniel receiving an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1940. Jackie Robinson, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African American to play major league baseball in 1947.

What are some Black history activities? ›

Black History Month Classroom Activity Ideas
  • Cut-and-Paste Timeline. ...
  • Persuasive Essay. ...
  • Writing Prompts. ...
  • Crossword Puzzle on Civil Rights. ...
  • Dictionary of Black Leaders. ...
  • Explore Famous Black Scientists in History. ...
  • Black History Month Challenge Quiz. ...
  • Word Search and Definitions.
27 Jan 2021

What is the 2022 theme for Black History Month? ›

The 2022 Black History Month's theme is Black Health and Wellness. This focus will celebrate the contributions and breakthroughs of Black professionals as well as speaking to the cultural richness of those “non-traditional” health and wellness practitioners (e.g., doulas, midwives, etc.).

How do you motivate Black students? ›

5 Ways to Help Black Students Feel Welcome
  1. Pronounce the names of your students correctly. ...
  2. Get to know the Black children in your class. ...
  3. Present Black history and culture in ways that are affirming—not from a deficit model. ...
  4. Present diversity within the Black aesthetic.
11 Jun 2021

What are some good questions to ask about Black History Month? ›

Celebrate Black History Month: A Conversation Guide About Civil Rights for Families
  • What do you know about the civil rights movement?
  • What were some of the challenges that people faced during that time in our nation's history?
  • How do you think children felt during that time?

How do you introduce Black History Month to kids? ›

If you're just beginning to introduce kids to the concept of Black History Month, start at the beginning by discussing what the month honors, how it started and why it is important. National Geographic Kids and PBS Kids both offer kid-friendly walk throughs.

What should we not do during Black History Month? ›

Don't whitewash history (pun intended).

Traditional historical narratives, written from a particular viewpoint, often eliminate, distort or minimize the circumstances and conditions experienced by people of color in this country. So flip the script. Use BHM to simply ask: Whose story does our history book tell?

Why is Black history so important? ›

Black History Month is that time for African Americans to acknowledge key figures from our past and present. It's an opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the achievements that African Americans have accomplished in this country, despite the history of racism and oppression.

What does Black history stand for? ›

Each February, we celebrate the achievements and history of African Americans as part of Black History Month. It's an opportunity to understand Black stories, uplift Black voices and spotlight those who have made a difference in our culture and history.

Why is it important we celebrate Black history? ›

A continued engagement with history is vital as it helps give context for the present. Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement. This year's theme is Black Health and Wellness.

How can we empower Black students? ›

Empowering Students of Color
  1. Understand Their Background and Lifestyle. True education happens when students feel safe and understood. ...
  2. Give a Personalized Experience. ...
  3. Increase Employability. ...
  4. Provide Successful Mentors of Color. ...
  5. Make Them the Teachers.
11 Aug 2020

What is the most important event in Black history? ›

On August 28, 1963, some 250,000 people—both Black and white—participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the largest demonstration in the history of the nation's capital and the most significant display of the civil rights movement's growing strength.

Why is Black history important for students? ›

The benefits of exploring a more complete and accurate understanding of our local past—particularly Black history—while gaining insights applicable to our national past are obvious. Students are empowered to contribute more fully to their local community, and the community comes to understand itself better.

What are 5 Black history facts? ›

34 Facts About Black History That You Might Not Know
  • Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first Black woman to become a doctor of medicine in the United States. ...
  • The Sugarhill Gang's “Rapper's Delight” became the first commercially successful rap record. ...
  • The practice of vaccinations was brought to America by a slave.
31 Jan 2019

What are 2 facts about Black history? ›

Black History Month Trivia

William Tucker, son of indentured servants from Great Britain, was the first recorded African child to be born in the colonies in 1624. Vermont was the first colony to ban slavery in 1777. In the 1770s, a Quaker named Anthony Benezet created the first school for African American children.

What color will compliment black? ›

Coupling smoky shades like black with earthy hues like navy and sage will make for a warm and cozy design. Those looking to leave a bold impression can match jet black with rich jewel tones like cobalt.

What is the best complimentary color for black? ›

Interestingly, while white is the universally known neutral, and considered the best combination with black, the lighter shade of pink is an excellent alternative to white. Adding wood tones to the palette is a great way to help warm up the scheme even more.

What are 3 famous African American? ›

Famous African Americans
  • Benjamin Banneker. Born on November 9, 1731 near Elliott City Maryland, Benjamin was one of America's greatest intellectuals and scientists. ...
  • Dr. Percy Lavon Julian. ...
  • Jesse Owens. ...
  • Fannie Lou Hamer. ...
  • Sojourner Truth. ...
  • Ruby Bridges Hall. ...
  • Thurgood Marshall. ...
  • Booker T.

Who was the first Black person to walk on earth? ›

Guion Bluford
Colonel Guion Bluford
BornGuion Stewart Bluford Jr. November 22, 1942 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
StatusRetired
NationalityAmerican
Alma materPenn State, B.S. 1964 AFIT, M.S. 1974, Ph.D. 1978 UHCL, MBA 1987
10 more rows

Who was the first black billionaire? ›

Robert L. Johnson

What are Black history colors? ›

The logo is executed in red, black, and green, three of four colors that represent Black History Month. Red represents blood without which freedom cannot be achieved. Black represents the color of the race, and green is symbolic of vegetation.

What are 3 examples of great individuals in African history? ›

6 Important People in Ancient African History
  • St. Anthony. Public Domain/PICRYL. ...
  • Dido. Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons. ...
  • Hanno. GNUFDL/Wikimedia Commons. ...
  • Septimius Severus. Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons. ...
  • Macrinus. Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons. ...
  • St. Augustine.
22 Mar 2019

What do the colors for Black History Month mean? ›

According to a book published by the UNIA, 'Red is the colour of the blood which men must shed for their redemption and liberty; black is the colour of the noble and distinguished race to which we belong; green is the colour of the luxuriant vegetation of our Motherland. '

What is the 2023 Black History Month theme? ›

The 2023 Black History Month theme is Black Resistance.

What is Black History Month called? ›

Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

How do you promote Black excellence? ›

Actions That Show Care and Empower Black Culture
  1. Support Black-owned businesses. ...
  2. Discover local and national Black history. ...
  3. Learn about important Black organizations. ...
  4. Offer volunteer services and donations to organizations in Black communities. ...
  5. Promote Black art and entertainment. ...
  6. Recognize Black innovators and innovations.

Why do Black students score lower than white students? ›

Gaps in average test scores, therefore, represent gaps in educational opportunity. The figure makes clear that Black students have fewer educational opportunities than White students in almost every American school district.

How do you motivate unmotivated students? ›

11 (more) tips to encourage unmotivated students
  1. Better student self talk. ...
  2. Stay motivated yourself. ...
  3. Work to your students' interests. ...
  4. Change layout regularly. ...
  5. Know what to say. ...
  6. Provide a “why” ...
  7. Encourage goal-setting. ...
  8. Be clear with instructions.
16 Jan 2020

What are some good history questions? ›

World History Trivia Questions
  • What woman discovered radium and polonium?
  • What was the name of Blackbeard / Edward Teach's ship?
  • In what year did the Battle of Hastings take place?
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of what former European country?
  • Who was the first explorer to sail around the world?
28 Jul 2021

What's a good history question? ›

Question: Who was the first ruler of the Mongol Empire? Question: What year did India gain independence from Britain? Question: Who was the first person in the world to land on the moon and which country were they from? Question: In what year is the Bubonic Plague believed to have started in Europe and Asia?

How do you honor Black History Month at school? ›

Celebrating Black History Month: 10 Ways Your Student Can Learn About Black History and Culture in America
  1. Celebrate with Cross-Curricular Activities. ...
  2. Read a Book About the African American Experience, History, and Culture. ...
  3. Watch a Documentary. ...
  4. Plan a Full Lesson on Historical Topics.
30 Jan 2021

What should schools do for Black History Month? ›

10 Black History Month activities for your students
  • Quote or fact of the day. Do the best you can until you know better. ...
  • Person of the day or week. ...
  • Black history trivia & games. ...
  • Worksheet activities. ...
  • Virtual events. ...
  • Timeline activity. ...
  • Study (and create) art. ...
  • Use relevant media.
26 Jan 2021

How do you show appreciation Black History Month? ›

8 Ways to Honor Black History Month
  1. Support Black-Owned Businesses: ...
  2. Learn About Noteworthy Black Figures and Their Contributions: ...
  3. Donate to Charities That Support Anti-Racism Equity and Equality: ...
  4. Purchase, Read, and Share Books by Black Authors: ...
  5. Support and Learn About Black Women:
4 Feb 2022

How do you demonstrate Black excellence? ›

Actions That Show Care and Empower Black Culture
  1. Support Black-owned businesses. ...
  2. Discover local and national Black history. ...
  3. Learn about important Black organizations. ...
  4. Offer volunteer services and donations to organizations in Black communities. ...
  5. Promote Black art and entertainment. ...
  6. Recognize Black innovators and innovations.

What are some Black accomplishments? ›

Track star Jesse Owens winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Actress Hattie McDaniel receiving an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1940. Jackie Robinson, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African American to play major league baseball in 1947.

What are some Black history topics? ›

Contents
  • Slavery.
  • Abolition and Emancipation.
  • Reconstruction.
  • Segregation and Black Migration.
  • Civil Rights.

What are some Black history themes? ›

Black History Month Themes
  • 2022 Theme: Black Health and Wellness. ...
  • 2021 Theme: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. ...
  • 2020 Theme: African Americans and the Vote. ...
  • 2019 Theme: Black Migrations. ...
  • 2018 Theme: African Americans in Times of War. ...
  • 2017 Theme: The Crisis in Black Education.
26 Aug 2022

What will be the national theme for Black History Month 2023? ›

The 2023 Black History Month theme is Black Resistance.

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(Ulster University Schools Outreach)
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(Beatrice. Achaleke - the affirmative writer)
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(Sesame Street)
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(Jeff A.D. Martin)
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