Black History Month:

The celebration of Black History Month dates back to Carter G. Woodson, a historian who proposed we set aside time to acknowledge the accomplishments of Black folks. Black history month began as a week in 1926 however, in 1995 the first Black woman elected to Parliament, Jean Augustine, officially pushed for it to be recognized as a month long celebration in February. It was not until 2008 that this was recognized by the Canadian senate after being brought forth by the first Black man appointed, senator Donald Oliver.

Dr. Carter G Woodson

Jean Augustine

While there is great celebration and pride to be had in these accomplishments, the significance of Black History Month lies in the absence of Black history, accomplishments, and celebrations in the other remaining eleven months. Celebrating Black History Month is important and it is just as important to create the opportunity to include the Black experience all year around.  

In a very blatant anti-Black climate, as educators, it is important to prioritize ways to connect Black, Indigenous, and racialized students to their history consistently. It is vital to connect all students to this history as a way of building community in the classroom and moving past single stories about what the past has been and what the future may hold.

Donald Oliver

Being critical about race requires a lot of time and challenges, to make this easier we have created:

5 Questions to Encourage Reflection:

1. Is our educational approach multicultural if my school/class still centres white holidays, culture, and history as the benchmark?

2. Am I making assumptions about students' backgrounds without the knowledge or experience required?

3. Am I ignoring race in my classroom by not including lesson plans, activities, and materials that not only include but support Black students? 

4. Am I aware of my limits as an educator when it comes to matters of race and am I doing something about it?

5. Am I paying attention to the historical and ongoing trauma caused by schools towards Black, Indigenous, and racialized students?

5 Tips For Integrating Black History Month Into Your Everyday Classroom: 

1. Practice what you preach. If you don’t know, read: Challenge yourself to read a book about anti-Black racism.

2. You may not be the right person but assume you are the ONLY person: As their teacher it is your responsibility to be comfortable with including and discussing race.

3. Representation Matters: When choosing classroom materials (books, articles, topics, etc.) make a conscious effort to include a generous amount of  Black, Indigenous, Racialized materials.

4. Don’t assume: It can cause a lot of harm to students if you make assumptions or judgements about their experiences. Ask questions, be open to learning from them and with them. It is okay to not have all the answers.

5. Be compassionate: Understand that your experience is not their experience and their experience is not yours. Find ways to connect, not avoid.

External resources for teachers and families:

The Kids Book of Canadian History

This is a sample of The Kids Book of Canadian History, we encourage you to purchase the full version for yourself!

How others are teaching black history in Canada

This CBC News story interviews an Ontario teacher who developed a black history course that's dismantling myths and challenging stereotypes.

Lunchbox Rap Battle: Black Canadian History

This CBC Kids Youtube dance is great for younger students and celebrates with a song featuring some of the most historic black Canadians.

The Canadian Black History Activity Book for Kids Vol 1

Big Dreamers: The Canadian Black History Activity Book for Kids Volume 1 is a coloring book for kids that celebrates the inspiring contributions of Black Canadians.

28 Moments of Black Canadian History

This extended 32 video playlist takes a look at 28 Moments of Black Canadian History, and is great for older students.

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Don't forget, we're here to help with fun, safe and easy activities during winter:

With the full winter weather finally here (no doubt some snow days and bus cancellations over the next few weeks!), we hope everyone is staying safe and warm. 

A little reminder that X Movement Classroom and our Live Virtual Programs are perfect for indoor DPA during these cold months. 

If you'd like more information about how X Movement's offerings would work for your school community, get in touch!


The X Movement Team

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