Black history is American history and, as a school, we are committed to not confining the teaching of Black history to the month of February, but weaving it into the overall architecture and curriculum of our courses throughout the year. With that said, Black History Month provides space and time solely dedicated to Black history—and education is at its core. It is an opportunity for our community of students and educators to remember, acknowledge, and celebrate the significant contributions that Black people have made in America—recognizing and learning about Black figures in our country’s history, celebrating Black excellence and resilience, remembering the sacrifices and adversity endured by African Americans, and discussing prevalent issues that are still present in our society.
Throughout February, we have taken advantage of the space that Black History Month has created. Here are a few examples of what has taken place at Bosque School this month:
In the middle school, Ms. O’Hanlon kicked off Black History Month a beautiful, crowd-sourced poem based on Langston Hughes’s “I Dream A World,” along with is a 7-minute segment from National Public Radio (NPR), where NPR Morning Edition host Rachel Martin and poet Kwame Alexander talk about how this poem came to be. She also shared the history of Black History Month with students.
In another middle school morning meeting, Ms. Lazar and Mr. Etigson talked about a few of their favorite books by Black authors that featured Black characters, like Pride by Ibi Zoboi, the Tristan Strong series by Kwame Mbalia, New Kid by Jerry Craft.
During our WILLDS programming, upper school students had the opportunity to learn more about voter suppression that has disproportionately impacted African Americans through a presentation by Vinay Harpalani, a professor of constitutional law, civil procedure, civil rights, and employment discrimination, and Torri Jacobus, the head of City of Albuquerque’s Office of Civil Rights and Managing Assistant City Attorney.
A showcase of books is on display at the Ford Library featuring books written by Black authors, non-fiction books and autobiographies about Black people, fiction books and graphic novels that center around Black main characters, and more. Students have been encouraged to peruse the collection and pick up a book, or two.
From Jim Crow laws to the March on Washington, 6th grade students have been immersed in the study of the Civil Rights Movement in their humanities class. Their 8-week study has focused on the importance of the Supreme Court decisions and the incredible courage and activism of the many people involved. Sixth grade can share their knowledge of the Children's Crusade, the Freedom riders, the Little Rock 9, the Greensboro four and so many more.
Black history has been talked about across the spectrum of classes—whether it’s discussing Black engineers and mathematicians in math class, or teaching about Black history-makers in sports in P.E class.
Looking ahead, next week our upper school students will be attending a mini-conference about diversity and sexual wellness. They’ll have the option of attending a variety of presentations, including one about the City of Albuquerque’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Then in April, 7th grade students will have the opportunity to attend the annual ME/WE conference. In past conferences, students have learned about the impact of racism, social justice, and many other critical subjects. We look forward to sharing more in the future about these events and initiatives.