Did you know President Gerald Ford was the first US president to recognize Black History Month in 1976? February is the perfect month because the birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln – who signed the Emancipation Proclamation into effect – and abolitionist Frederick Douglass are celebrated in February. Although learning about Black history shouldn’t be limited to just one month, it is a fantastic opportunity to broaden and deepen children’s knowledge and celebrate the achievements of Black Americans.

Parents and caregivers can make learning about the contributions, culture, and achievements of Black Americans fun and engaging by connecting history to areas of interest.

Does your child love music?

Create a playlist with famous Black musicians throughout history like Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, or more contemporary artists like Beyonce and SaulPual. You can also search and listen to existing playlists like these curated by The Center for Performing Arts. Follow up your music education session with a visit to your local library or research your favorite musicians together at home.

Is your child into art?

Baltimore has a rich art culture to explore. The Baltimore Museum of Art is always free and has a permanent African art collection and ongoing exhibitions highlighting Black artists. Looking to learn about Black artists from home? Here is a source to explore as a family.

Does your child enjoy sports?

So many kids love sports and discovering iconic Black athletes is a great way to expand children’s understanding of the Black experience. The children’s book series “I am”  by author Brad Meltzer includes the story of Jackie Robinson, who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. Listen to a read-aloud version of the “I am Jackie Robinson” story together this month.

Is your child a culinary artist?

Do you have a child who is a “foodie” or loves to cook? Visit one of the many Black-owned Restaurants in Charm City or create your own culinary treats at home with recipes from The Soul Food Pot.

Does your child love to read?

For the child who loves to read, or be read to, check out this list of children’s books to read during Black History Month to help them better understand a perspective different from their own. For tablet readers, the Baltimore Public Library is a great source for virtual book shares. Check out their 2023 Black History Month virtual book display through their website.

However you choose to celebrate Black History Month with your child, you will be sharing unique family experiences that not only include family bonding time but a memorable history lesson too.

Erica Jensen
Executive Director

Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore

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