This year’s All-School celebration of Black History and Black Joy intentionally disrupted common-place approaches to the topic by inviting the entire school community to acknowledge and reflect upon the complexities of teaching and learning about Black History, and to approach the topic through the lens of Black educators.
A framework was created to guide the faculty's approach to the event:
- Black parents often fear Black History Month because well-meaning educators can further traumatize their children when handling it poorly.
- Black history doesn’t start with slavery and end with the Civil Rights Movement.
- Teaching Black history only through the lens of oppression and slavery is itself an act of oppression; you must frame these stories in terms of resilience and resistance in order to capture the humanity of all. You must also frame stories of slavery by emphasizing that people--who had rich lives and histories before enslavement--had their lives altered by enslavement, but were not defined by enslavement.
- Centre stories of Black beauty, joy, and, and success, but don’t ONLY talk about musicians and athletes and not only Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks. Black history encompasses a breadth of stories and perspectives, as all human history does. What is happening now? What is the future?
- Beware the stories of the white saviour. Beware of thinking of yourself as a white saviour.
- Teach Black history all year round.