Recognition of black history has taken place every year since 1926. What used to be a week in February is now the month of October: Black History Month. Black History Month is an opportunity to explore black history, heritage, culture, and achievements of black people with your class.
To truly recognise black history and to make lasting change, it is worth taking a look at your entire curriculum and assessing its diversity. The Black Curriculum has some fantastic resources and ideas for this.
But if you’re looking to collapse your curriculum or have a specific focus for the month of October, you’ve come to the right place! We have put together a list of areas of Black History you can teach, along with links to free resources you can use to teach them.
5 Black History lessons and resources
- Teach the history of Black History Month with Twinkl
- Teach important black figures from history with BBC
- Talk about race with Unicef and National Geographic
- Teach about Windrush with Windrush Foundation
- Teach about slavery (appropriately) with Tolerance.org
5 great resources to celebrate Black History Month
Celebrate history, heritage, culture, and achievements for Black History Month.
1. Teach the history of Black History Month with Twinkl
Upon founding the celebration in 1926, Carter G. Woodson wanted to encourage schools to teach the history of black Americans in public schools in a coordinated way.
Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in 1987 and it has continued to offer a chance for teachers to ensure children are informed of the true, rich history of black people.
If you’re looking for resources to effectively teach the history of Black History Month and all the themes it entails, the good people at Twinkl have got you covered with a range of free Black History Month resources. Just sign up for a free account and download any of their free resources.
2. Teach important black figures from history with BBC
Mary Seacole, Dr Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Mae Jemison; some of these names are in the curriculum, some are not. But all of them, and many more, are figures in history worth teaching.
The BBC has a huge array of Black History Month resources, including fun and informative videos. One, in particular, is a selection of Horrible Histories sketches, picked especially in celebration of Black History Month.
3. Talk about race with Unicef and National Geographic
Conversations with children about race can be really difficult, which is all the more reason to have these discussions as a first step in creating an anti-racist classroom. Just remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers, even as a teacher. If you’ve already had a curriculum shakeup and you’re celebrating Black History Month, chances are, you’ve had talks about race already.
But just in case, Unicef and National Geographic have put together articles about talking about race with children. They both have great suggestions for how to have these conversations and how to keep the discussion going. It’s absolutely worth a read if you’re worried about these kinds of conversations and how best to navigate them with the children in your class.
4. Teach about Windrush with Windrush Foundation
Between the years of 1948 and 1970, nearly half a million people from the Caribbean moved to Britain to help out; Britain was suffering a severe labour shortage after the Second World War and called on the people of the Caribbean to assist. The people who came over were later referred to as the ‘Windrush generation’. The name Windrush comes from the name of the ship which brought one of the largest groups of people over to Britain from the Caribbean.
That’s what initially happened, but of course, there is a lot more to explore and unpack. The Windrush Foundation has put together an entire project aimed at KS2 that does exactly that. This scheme of work includes key questions to be asked, key vocabulary and learning outcomes, and assessment opportunities. It has everything you could want and need to teach this important piece of British history.
5. Teach about slavery (appropriately) with Tolerance.org
It can be difficult to know where to begin when teaching topics such as slavery, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be taught at an early age.
Children can be provided with a basic understanding of what freedom and slavery are in a safe and appropriate manner. Whilst written for American teachers with a lot of focus on American history, Tolerance.org has put together a huge range of resources to help teachers navigate the topic of slavery with primary aged pupils, including information regarding Britain’s deep involvement in the slave trade.
You can also find some resources that focus more on the role Britain played in the history of the slave trade aimed at primary school pupils on Twinkl, however, these are paid for resources.