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Black History Month a great learning opportunity for families

Schools throughout San Francisco are celebrating Black History Month. There are classroom lessons, schoolwide assemblies, and lots of other activities dedicated to celebrating Black History and the many contributions of African Americans.

As a school district that values diversity, we believe Black History should be celebrated 365 days a year — 366 in a leap year. Nonetheless, Black History Month provides an important opportunity for schools.

For those who are not familiar with its origin, Black History Month actually started as Negro History Week. Founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson and first held in February 1926, the support for this week-long celebration of Black excellence lit the fire for the broader study of Black history and the continued recognition of the Black men and women who advanced our society. On February 10, 1976, President Gerald R. Ford acknowledged the importance of Black History Month and brought it into national observance.

While we hope students will tell their families about how they are celebrating Black History in schools, we encourage families to continue this journey of learning at home, too.

Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

Check out this recommended list of books for grades PreK-12 offered by San Francisco Public Library’s African American Center.

Plan a field trip for your entire family to the Museum of the African Diaspora, African American Arts & Culture Complex, Buffalo Soldiers, or the San Francisco African American Freedom Trail.

Follow SFUSD’s African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative (AAALI) on Facebook. Every day for the month of February, AAALI will highlight a Black historical figure or event with a brief summary and links to potential resources for learning. These historical figures make for great dinner conversation topics at home.

Familiarize yourself with the many Black History resources available to schools. There are also some recommendations for shows, videos and activities you can enjoy with your family.

In closing, I want to extend a special invitation to any parents of African American students in SFUSD. If you want to become more involved in the districtwide African American Parent Advisory Council or to network with other Black families in SFUSD, visit sfusd.edu/AAPAC, email aapac@sfusd.edu, or call (415) 241-6121.

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