February is celebrated in the United States as Black History Month since 1976, and while celebrating the achievements of Black Americans and learning about our nation’s history shouldn’t be limited only to one month, it is an opportunity for some special programming for youth of all ages at your Club. Today, I’m sharing some resources from both BGCA and around the internet that will hopefully spark some activity ideas!
First, I love this quick video intro to why celebrating Black History Month is so important.
My go-to anytime I need resources on race, identity, bias, or anything related is always Teaching Tolerance. They have a TON of lesson plans on their site, and it is all filterable by grade level, subject, and topic. This link will take you to all of the Race & Ethnicity resources. They are designed for classroom teachers, so may need some adjusting to work in the Club context. I also love their blog posts and other kinds of resources, so give a follow on Facebook or sign up for their free email newsletter or print magazine at the bottom of their home page. Here’s one activity on Modern Day American Heroes that could easily be adapted to focus on prominent current-day Black Americans and their work.
For teens, the NFL funded a program called 306: Black History Curriculum for High School and the follow up 306: Continuing the Story. They both consist of free digital lessons. As Club staff, you can sign up for free access, just use your email.
This link goes to a great list of craft ideas. I especially love the Freedom Quilt. If you need some ideas for people to highlight in some of these crafts, I’ve included a link.
Speaking of people to highlight, as of the publishing of this post, Vice President Kamala Harris is about to be inaugurated, and is the first African-American Vice-President! As well as being the first female VP and the first South Asian! Friend of the ClubX Blog Lauren Avey from Boys & Girls Club of Washington County made this worksheet to go along with a scavenger hunt activity. They will be writing “VP Facts” on index cards and placing them around the Club, and youth will use them to fill out the worksheet. Facts will be based on things her youth may find relatable, like having immigrant parents, naturally curly hair, enjoying cooking as a hobby, attending an HBCU, etc. focusing on non-partisan topics.
Our friends at the Music & Youth Music Impact Network (shout out to Josh from BGC Tarrant County!) put together this INCREDIBLE list of resources including videos and music to play throughout Black History Month.
It’s not a list of ideas on the ClubX Blog without a book list or two!
For your teen boys, the Passport to Manhood: Growing Up Black Discussion Guide was released last year. This video-based discussion guide highlights some of the experiences Black males are undergoing, providing an opportunity for youth to process their emotions and express how they feel about topics such as racism, being Black in America, and masculinity.
Integrate Black History Month into your Club décor! Here are some amazing doors that could be also adapted into “normal” bulletin boards.
Speaking of décor, Brittany from the Boys & Girls Club of West Central WI posted this amazing bulletin board they displayed last year!
And at the Jack Walker Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, staff create a wall display adding a new historical figure each day, hosting weekly trivia and a quiz bowl at the end of the month! Youth Program Director Isiah sent me this video of their display.
There’s not a specific activity plan to go with these, but a session around Freedom Movement posters, looking at the ones listed on this site as examples, and then having youth think about what current freedom movements they care about and creating their own posters, alone or in groups, could be a cool multi-session activity, or as a collab between the Education and Art rooms. Could even have youth learn about graphic design as part.
Black Americans have played a HUGE role in the development of American music, so here’s a lesson on that history. It would be a perfect lead in to running Lyricism 101, now available on MyFuture!
In the Gym or Gamesroom depending on your space, learn how to Step Dance with this video playlist. Be sure to find out first if any of your youth or their families know how and can help. You can learn more about step and watch some absolutely incredible performances from Step Afrika!
These mosaics based on the work of Alma Thomas are gorgeous!
And never forget about STEM! These activities are introduced with books which is EVEN BETTER.
As BGCA releases more resources and I hear about some of YOUR favorites, I’ll add them here, so it stays an easy to access library of ideas.