October is Black History Month, a time to celebrate and raise awareness of the key people of colour who have influenced our society throughout history.
This month is not without controversy. Why should it be just one month a year? Surely this should be within our culture all year round, not just October?
This year seems to be more poignant, with the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement it feels like there is a step change in how we as a society view the historical impact of those of colour. I know I am more interested in finding out about the people behind the stories. Prior to watching Doctor Who, I didn’t know anything about Rosa Parks, much to my embarrassment. Why do we learn so much about the Tudors and the Romans without looking into the society around them? I wanted to find out more about what my children were being taught, having contact their school their teacher provided me with a great insight into what they learn about black history. There was more than I thought but could the curriculum have more black content? Yes.
One area I thought was of interest was that A Level History students have been studying key black figures in History with a view to them creating short videos or presentations that can be shared with other year groups. This felt like a positive reaction to the demands placed on schools to do more. This isn’t just about black identity, its about us all having a more rounded view of who has influenced our society and not everyone who did that was white.
Could schools do more? Probably. We all learn history and as white people we can see ourselves in the people who are in the book, on the screen or in the story. Many young black children look at this information and ask why no one looks like them. Engaging children in history is hard, anything that makes this process easier must be a good thing. Having a more diverse range of people to learn about and having a wider representation in school can only be a good idea for our culture.
In researching this blog post, I was pointed in the direction of the Black Curriculum Social Enterprise. A group of people who are educating the educators in what has happened in UK history. The learning resources page had my attention for ages! An inspired idea to engage children of all ages and colours into learning about black history.
If you’re interested and want to find out more, there is plenty of information out there – here’s a few links for starters!
Rosa Parks was a trailblazer who took a stand. Who else is out there who could inspire your imagination?