By Jackie Grade
Chosen because it is the month in which both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were born, February is Black History Month – an opportunity to recognize the struggles and the contributions of African Americans. Here are 9 fun ways to connect as a family to an important part of our nation’s history and future.
1. Attend the 2015 Orange County Black History Parade and Cultural Faire
When: February 7th; 9am – 4pm
Where: The Center Street Promenade and Lemon Street Intersection
For the 35th year, Downtown Anaheim welcomes families to experience its cultural fair, food, entertainment and parade. Walk down the Health Village or Youth Village and participate in the art contests that all focus on commemorating Black History Month.
2. Visit the California African American Museum
When: February 8th; 1pm – 3pm
Where: California African American Museum
Take a drive to this L.A. museum. While it will host a month-long tribute to Black History Month, the African American Museum launches its celebration on February 8th with live performances, spoken word and art workshops for families of all ages.
3. Attend the Annual Interfaith/Intercultural Breakfast
When: February 19th Where: Long Beach Convention Center Grand Ballroom
Every year the California Conference for Equality and Justice invites the community in to celebrate our religious and cultural diversity. This year, keynote speaker Kevin Hines will tell his story of unlikely survival and engage families with children of young ages as well.
4. See “A Night in Historic Harlem”
When: February 27th; 7pm
Where: Saddleback College
Enjoy a night filled with food, entertainment, music and art as you travel back in time to Harlem in the 1920s. Watch as the students from Saddleback College bring the times of speakeasies and budding jazz music back to life.
5. Read some history
For young children, choose one of many children’s books celebrating black historic figures and leaders, such as “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” and “Who Was Rosa Parks?” For older children, consider reading one of Dr. King’s writings, such as Letter from Birmingham Jail, and talk about it.
6. Crank up the jazz
Enjoy the sound of the 1920s and ‘30s with music from African American artists like Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington that changed the face and future of music.
7. Experience “I Have a Dream”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a powerful orator. Find audio or video of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from August 1963 in front of the Lincoln Memorial and just listen. It offers a great vision for our country that all of us can agree upon.
8. Slam some poetry
Read aloud poems from famous African American poets such as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and Phyllis Wheatley. Write your own poems about black history, what you understand and see, and read them to each other.
9. Host a movie night
Pull out the “oldies but goodies” such as Ruby Bridges, Remember the Titans or Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored, that remind or teach the kids about our country’s struggle with segregation.