No matter what shades of skin make up the family in your home, Black History Month is for you! February is a month when a concentrated effort is made to celebrate people of color and the incredible contributions that have been made to history, art, culture, literature, and the impact made right here in our Milwaukee community.
Four Fun Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Milwaukee with Kids!
1 – Books and Learning about Black History
There are some excellent books out there for children to learn about Black History. A current favorite in our house is Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. It’s over 80 pages of amazing Black women who have helped shape our world today: Oprah, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, and so many more! Her more recently published book is Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World that is equally stunning! Another favorite here is Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. There’s a vast selection of children’s books on Amazon perfect for Black History Month, or your local library probably has a section dedicated specifically to Black history right now. Make flashcards of notable African-Americans to use as a learning tool. Put a picture of a person on one side, explain their contribution to history on the other, and this can become a fun game, but also a lifelong lesson in learning how Black History = Human History.
2 – Experience and Investigation
Get out there and experience black culture firsthand! There will be plays, dances, and programs celebrating Black History Month all month long! Did you know we have America’s Black Holocaust Museum here in Milwaukee? This place is awesome, and a great chance to learn more about African-American history, and their tours are a must-see. The Wisconsin Black Historical Society is celebrating 30 years of preserving African American History in Wisconsin, so head on over to their website to check it out! Ready to do some research on your own? Learn about some of the leaders right here in our city who are doing incredible things to make Milwaukee fabulous. Some examples: Andre Ellis, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Jarret Luckett (Executive Director of Exploit No More), Venice Williams (Executive Director of Alice’s Garden), and so many more.
3 – PBS Milwaukee African American History Specials
PBS has a great line up of shows this February that cover a broad range of subjects as far as black history month. Discover the journey to civil rights in Milwaukee through the inspirational story of Vel Phillips. Check out other pieces, including Mercy Street and many more. You can find a full lineup of shows and specials here.
4 – Explore and Support!
Spend time supporting local small businesses owned and operated by people of color. In particular, we are VERY excited about Sherman Phoenix, the new business space that features a variety of vendors the entire community will love. From Funky Fresh Spring Rolls to Lush Popcorn, Next Level Vegans to Shindig Coffee, 2 Kings Barber Shop to The Lash Factory, plus yoga, counseling services, and other wellness-based resources. The Sherman Phoenix is open six days a week. Monday – Saturday, 7 am – 8 pm.
Of course, learning about Black history doesn’t have to be confined to February only. The goal is to teach children about all history, all the time! And most important of all, learning about Black History with kids is useless unless we are purposeful and clear about how we are teaching and modeling for our kids about the beauty of diversity, the imperative of social justice, and the difference we all can make in creating a better world for the generations to come.