By Carolina Pichardo
Have you asked your children what history lessons they’ve learned lately?
If your child's curriculum resembles my daughter’s own, they’re all busy with the traditional Black History Month profile, wherein each child picks a famous or popular African-American figure to research and present to their classmates.
How about enriching the learning by taking your child on a field trip or historical adventure, and making it your family's own?
Our children should have a unique take on what it is to be a person of color Black or Latino, as many of us and our neighbors are one or both. Moreover, the communities in which we live offer abundant opportunity to experience cultural riches first-hand.
Providing our children with such unique lessons will allow them to grow with the confidence and sense of identity needed to create historical footprints of their own.
Take a look at these Black History Month events taking place in Washington Heights and Bronx throughout the month of February.
Fugitive Art and Fugitive Testimony: Slave Narratives Then and Now
Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace, New York, NY
Saturday, February 2 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Age Range: Elementary School Age, Tweens, Teens
Sponsored by the New York Council by the New York Council for the Humanities, this lecture presented by Professor Janet Neary will bring together contemporary “visual slave narratives”, as well as classic slave narratives from the 19th century to examine the way black artists and writers are able to produce against the institutional constraints placed on their work.
This event is free and open to the general public.
Slavery By Another Name Screening
Take a visit to see to the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center to learn more about its female namesake.
Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, 3940 Broadway, New York, NY
Saturday, February 16 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Age Range: Tweens, Teens
Slavery in the United States went through so many illegal and legal changes, and much is not documented in our children’s history books. From the Fugitive Slave Act of 1792 to the more widely-known Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the country, this film documents the trial and tribulations of our ancestors on their road to freedom.
The Woodlawn Cemetery
Webster Avenue and East 233rd Street, Bronx, NY
Saturday, February 23 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Age Range: Elementary, Tween, Teens
Each year, this historical place celebrates Black History Month a little differently. Using cemetery records, Andrea Ramsey, a long-time member of the Friends of Woodlawn, will conduct a workshop on researching African American and Afro-Caribbean heritage. The event is free and will take place in the Jerome Building of the Woodlawn Cemetery.
Black History Month 12th Annual Youth Celebration
Choose a prominent figure to research with your child.
Co-Op City Dreiser Community Center, 177 Dreiser Loop, Auditorium B, Bronx, NY
Saturday, February 23 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Age Range: Babies, Toddlers, Elementary, Tweens, Teens
There’s no better way to enjoy and celebrate Black History Month than with The National Council Negro Women (NCNW) in the Co-op City section of the Bronx. This event, which has featured speakers such as President Bill Clinton in the past, will feature several young acts and performers of poetry, dance, music and theatrical presentation.
There are also a number of small ways to focus your family on the accomplishments and history of many individuals who have shaped the country, and city, we live in.
It might be worth recounting family stories that touch on overcoming struggle or looking up online biographies of those figures your child will not present in school.
Take time to ask questions, and answer some of your own.
A celebration of such rich history allows us all an occasion to explore it together.