October is Black History month a month set aside to learn, honour, and celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. The first Black History Month pack has been created and is available for distribution to all schools and educational establishments, although the pack is paid for there are a range of posters that can be downloaded to use within the classroom, these include looking at significant writers, sports figures and a timeline of events.
As well as thinking about significant figures in this country, the month also gives students the opportunities to look at significant figures throughout history:
George Bridgewater – art, liberty and slavery: in this website and resource pack from LGfL it enables students to take a close look at George Bridgetower and his relationship with Beethoven. Students can also examine other artists, writers and musicians who were working at the same time as Bridgetower, with a special focus on their relationship to the anti-slavery movement. This resource can be used with KS3 and KS2 pupils.
Why not use the month to watch Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech, or get children to read it aloud and then for them to create their own speeches on what they would change in the world or even a poem based on Change which is this years theme for National Poetry Day on the 4th October.
The life of Nelson Mandela – from CultureStreet.org this resource and the lesson plans focus on the life of Nelson Mandela using the work of South African comic book company Umlando Wezithombe. This resource can be used by KS1 and KS2 students.
The life of Mary Seacole from the BBC School Radio, is a series of three short video episodes, that tell her life story. Mary begins her story with her journey from Jamaica to London – and then onward to the Crimea during the Crimean War and her meeting with the journalist William Howard Russell. After the War ends Mary tells of her time back in London, impoverished and apparently forgotten by the British public.
The BBC have also put together a range of inspiring resources for primary schools, these look at the life of Nelson Mandela, what the Slave Trade was and a video with dads and daughters discussing history and identity. There is also a range of resources for secondary students
Walter Tull – was a professional football and he was the first British-born black army officer and the first black officer to lead white British troops into battle. The video below tells his story and is perfect for KS2 and KS3 pupils looking at WW1 and the impact that Walter had.
As well as researching significant figures, this month provides pupils the chance to reflect on tolerance and inclusivity in society, Developing British Values from LGfL – looks at this topic and provides short video clips for discussion in class. True Tube provides videos that cover RE, PHSE and citizenship and have a collection of videos that can be used as discussion points for Black History month. UK Parliament have also put together a collection of resources that can be used to explore diversity and the changing nature of representation in the UK. This series of videos with supporting teachers’ packs allows students to find out about Parliamentarians’ experience of changing diversity and to consider what diversity means to them.
Into film have created a list of films for Black History Month, the list aims to highlight the tremendous range and diversity of black filmmaking talent in front of and behind the camera. It also looks to celebrate black culture more generally and draw attention to its rich, and often painful history. Film is a hugely powerful medium to elicit empathy and understanding, but also to provoke debate. Lots of history is covered within the list, alongside films also celebrating the vibrancy and style of much black music and culture, demonstrating tremendously exciting work from younger artists. There are films featured for all ages.
This year also saw the first Windrush day on 22nd June to celebrate 70 years since the first 500 Windrush migrants arrived from the Caribbean in Tilbury Docks in Essex, abroad the MV Empire Windrush. “A Windrush Day will allow communities up and down the country to recognise and honour the enormous contribution of those who stepped ashore at Tilbury Docks 70 years ago,” said Lord Bourne. “It will keep their legacy alive for future generations, ensuring that we all celebrate the diversity of Britain’s history.” There are lots of videos and information available on the Windrush Day website.
Scholastic have also produced a guide for Black history month, with an idea a day throughout the October, to use in class.
Other ideas could be involve the children in cooking, asking family members for recipes, Cookit from E2BN, have recipes and information on foods that can be used in class. Students could create play lists from prominent artists to share in class or at assemblies, Audio network could be used to look at Jazz and Blues music.