February is Black History Month, and there are so many exciting things to learn about. Some things are sad, but some things are amazing. There are so many individuals who worked to make huge changes and make sure that some things are more fair than they were before.
Let's take a look at some of the many Black people who made a huge difference in our history.
Ruby Bridges: Did you know that not that long ago, Black kids weren't allowed to go to the same schools as white kids? They also couldn't drink out of the same water fountains, go to the same swimming pools, live in the same neighborhoods, or even go into the same stores.
The little girl in the picture is Ruby Bridges. She was the very first Black child to attend an all-white school. She had to take a test to see if she could go, and she she was only 6 years old and going into kindergarten. You see the people around her? They are federal marshals who had to protect her because a lot of people were so mad that she went to that school that they were afraid someone would hurt her.
How brave do you think this little girl was to go to a school all by herself, and be the first one to take such an amazing step in history. Let's remember her name and be grateful that she was brave enough to do this so more kids could go to the same school.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW ABOUT MORE KIDS WHO CHANGED HISTORY
FUN ACTIVITY #1 There are a ton of amazing kid's books that talk about different Black leaders in history. Check them out with an adult, and share them with your friends! The more we can learn about Black history, the more we can appreciate all the hard work that it has taken to change our world. There are a lot more too!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: You may have heard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. before. And that's because he was a true leader in Black history.
He was known to try to make changes without violence or physical fighting. Even though people were very mean and hurtful to him, he never hurt anyone else. Sometimes he even went to jail. But he used his words and actions to change history.
While he accomplished so many things, what he is most known for is the March on Washington. On August 28, 1963 a ton of people (250,000) went to Washington D.C. to demand jobs for everyone and schools for everyone. They didn't want Black people to have to be separated anymore. They wanted to be treated equally. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the march, and gave a very important speech to inspire others and stand up for what was fair and right. This was the largest civil rights gatherings in U.S. history.
A sad part of this story, is that someone killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sometimes people who were brave and stood up for people risked their lives in the process. We remember him, and his sacrifices.
Claudette Colvin & Rosa Parks: We talked about how Black people weren't allowed to do the same things as white people. One of those things was to ride in the front of a bus, and also that they had to give up their seats for white people.
Claudette Colvin was only 15 years old when she was riding a bus and refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus. The bus driver told her she had to, but she kept sitting down. So you know what they did? The police came and put her in handcuffs and arrested her!
Aurelia Browder and Mary Louise Smith were other women who followed in later months, and refused to do the same.
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat as well, and was arrested. So she made a plan to help make a difference. At the time, almost everyone who rode the bus in Montgomery, AL (where Rosa Parks lived) were Black people. So she knew that they had power.
Rosa and a lot of other Black people (approximately 40,000) decided to boycott the bus system. Boycotting means that they refused to use the busses. Because most bus riders were Black, this cost the bus companies lots of money.
After about a year, the laws were finally changed so that Black people could use the bus like white people. Many people were mad about this, and said very mean things and tried to hurt or kill different Black people. We must be proud and honor those who fought for freedoms and fair rights for all people.
Bessie Coleman was the first licensed Black pilot in the whole world!
Jane Bolin was the first Black woman to go to Yale Law School and became the first Black female judge in the United States
MARSHA P. JOHNSON
Marsha P. Johnson had a huge impact on drag and queer culture. She was a Black transwoman and activist and also founded an organization to help homeless, queer youth.
Mae Jemison was the first Black woman who orbited space on the shuttle Endeavor! She is also a physician, teacher, a Peace Corps volunteer, and president of tech company
BENJAMIN O. DAVIS SR.
Benjamin O. Davis Sr. was the first Black general in the American military. He served for 50 years as a temporary first lieutenant at an all-Black unit.
Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest heavyweight boxing champions. We won 56 times, was an Olympic gold medalist and a 3 time Heavyweight Title champion.
Maya Angelou is one of the most incredible authors and poets of all time. She has over 50 honorary doctorate degrees and has written 36 books. She was also a major civil rights activist.
GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER
George Washington Carver was a scientist and inventor who is most famous for developing hundreds of products from peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes. After his death, his childhood home was named a national monument. The first of its kind for an African American.
Soujourner Truth was born into slavery and even as a little child had to do hard work and got terrible punishments. She fought for women's rights and equal rights and helped other enslaved people escape to freedom.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery and created what was known as the Underground Railroad. This was a network of people who helped other enslaved people escape. It was dangerous, but Harriet risked her life many times to help others to freedom.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery, but escaped dressed as a sailor. Once he escaped, he taught other enslaved people how to read, and even gave advice to the United States Presidents.
Jackie Robinson was the first Black baseball player to play in the American Major Leagues. He was also an activist and fought for equal rights.
FUN ACTIVITY #2 Pick one of the amazing people above (or another person from Black history) and learn more about them! You can use the sheet below, or make your own. There is so much to learn about so many people who made a difference.