October is Black History Month in the UK. This blog post contains some helpful hints and links for teachers this BHM. Please feel free to forward it to anyone you think it might interest.
Kwame Bakoji-Hume of African Activities CIC has run hundreds of Black History Month workshops. Here are his hints, tips and links for teachers for a fun class based activity.
Challenge the stereotypes
If you do make time to explore Black British history it may be interesting to begin with Black Roman emperors such as Septimus Severus. At a world level do children know that the worlds first Universities were in Morocco and Timbuktu? You may even wish to explore why some people think aliens are more likely to have built the pyramids than Africans!
We love to focus on Adinkra – a traditional form of printed cloth from the Akan peoples of Ghana in West Africa. It’s an activity that everyone can access, enabling children to get in touch with their creativity and have some fun.
A trip around the history of the Ashante highlights it’s length and depth as it reaches back into tales of long ago, of kings and queen mothers, regiments of female warriors, gold and riches and knowledge. As well as learning about the history children can also explore the present day Asantehene.
Adinkra symbols from West Africa are a form of hieroglyphic with each symbol representing a proverb. There is a culture of proverbs in West Africa, and indeed across the sub continent. It enables us to challenge the thought of Africa as a continent without the written word.
The Materials to Help
This proverbs for Africa worksheet
contains a number of proverbs. Asking children to interpret the proverbs is a great way to get them to explore and challenge language and to see the double meanings within.
We know that for Black children, who may rarely feel represented in the history they learn, Black History Month is important. But we also know its tough that when this history is explored the role is often that of the victim. We believe BHM is equally important for white children who may know little of Black History. For us Black History Month is about reclaiming the past for all of us. By shining a light on history we hope we can create a more unified future.