Flower

Posts Tagged ‘Black History Month’

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month: Black History Month

February is Black History Month! In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week and then in 1976 President Gerald Ford proclaimed February as “Black History Month.” African Americans have played vital roles in shaping the country’s past and present. We encourage you to observe Black History Month in your classroom and media center by teaching about African Americans. On SIRS Discoverer, young researchers can find articles and images on the accomplishments, history, culture, and heritage of African Americans. Here are samples of what they can find:

Frederick Douglass
George Kendall Warren [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • John Lewis — A vigorous civil rights worker, he has served as a Congressman from Georgia for more than 30 years. He is now the only organizer of the 1963 March on Washington who is still alive.
  • Frederick Douglass — Born into slavery, he was a journalist, public speaker, and well-known antislavery leader.
  • Sojourner Truth — Also born into slavery, she was an advocate for the abolitionist movement and women’s rights.
  • Ralph Bunche — A diplomat and a mediator working for the United Nations, he was the first African-American to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson — These barrier-breaking African-American athletes defied racist attitudes and became trailblazers in their sports.
  • Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison — Award-winning and prolific, these authors wrote about the experiences of African-American women.
  • Ruby Bridges, the Greensboro Four, and the Freedom Riders — These children and students played pivotal roles in the civil-rights movement.

How are you celebrating Black History Month in your library or classroom? Let us know in the comments or tweet us with #ProQuest. 

Black History Month on ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

February is Black History Month! In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week and then in 1976 President Gerald Ford proclaimed February as “Black History Month.” African Americans have played vital roles in shaping the country’s past and present. We encourage you to observe Black History Month in your classroom by teaching about African Americans. On ProQuest SIRS Discoverer, young researchers can find articles and images on the accomplishments, history, culture, and heritage of African Americans. Here are samples of what they can find:

Ruby Bridges

By Uncredited DOJ photographer (Via [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Sojourner Truth — Born into slavery she was an advocate for abolitionist movement and women’s rights.
  • Ralph Bunche — A diplomat and a mediator working for the United Nations, he was the first African American to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. — One of the civil rights movement most well-known figures, his historic “I Have a Dream” speech still influences.
  • Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson — These barrier-breaking African-American athletes defied racist attitudes.
  • Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison — Award winning and prolific, these authors wrote about the experiences of African American women.
  • Ruby Bridges, the Greensboro Four, and the Freedom Riders — These children and students played pivotal roles in the civil-rights movement.

Go to February’s Discoverer Spotlight of the Month and pay tribute to Black History Month.

Black History Month: To Celebrate or Not?

Black History Month Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Black History Month Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

February 2016 marks the 90th anniversary of Negro History Week, the predecessor to Black History Month.  Begun in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the second week of February was chosen to honor the erased history and contributions of African Americans in the creation of America because of the birthdates of Frederick Douglass the abolitionist and Abraham Lincoln the emancipator.  Negro History Week became the month-long celebration we know as Black History Month fifty years later in 1976.  Today Black History months are celebrated not only in the United States, but also in Canada, Britain and Germany.

In recent years, criticism has arisen whether Black History Month should be celebrated.  Some debate its relegation to just one month.  The actor Morgan Freeman famously said, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month. I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”  Others say Black History Month has veered from its original intent whereby famous African Americans are reduced to mere soundbites of achievement and excessive worship.  The complexity of African-American life is not considered along with the achievement or contribution to history some argue.  Other critics believe it to be outdated and wonder if African Americans need to be reminded of things past in a time when the United States has its first African-American president.

On the other hand, proponents of Black History Month argue it is as important now as it has ever been to understand the intricacies of black history — intricacies which should not be in the shadows of American history curricula.  They contend until there is complete integration of African-American history in the textbooks Black History Month will continue to be relevant.  Others advocate Black History Month’s usefulness in helping teachers discuss and examine issues of race and ethnicity in the classroom.

Carter Woodson spoke of a time when Negro History Week (and now Black History Month) would not be needed.  He believed “black history should be an everyday part of American life.”  Dr. Woodson was right, and Morgan Freeman was right that black history is American history.  It’s good to know as much as you can about American history no matter which side you take in the debate.

 

 

Matthew Henson Reaches the North Pole

Most of us know that Robert Edwin Peary was the first man to reach the North Pole. Many of us are also aware that Roald Amundson won the race to the South Pole. Ernest Shackleton made history by not reaching the South Pole. Since February is Black History Month, it might be a good time to take a look at Matthew Henson, who may have stepped on the North Pole just ahead of Peary.

1910 Photo of Matthew Henson

1910 Photo of Matthew Henson [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Orphaned when he was very young, at the age of 12 Henson signed on as a cabin boy aboard a sailing ship, where he learned many technical skills, including navigation. Henson first served with Peary while he was with the Navy Corps of Engineers. Henson traveled with Peary on seven voyages over a period of 23 years. Before Peary’s eighth and final attempt to reach the Pole, Peary said that “Henson must go all the way. I can’t make it without him.” On April 6, 1909, Peary, Henson and four Inuit men were recognized at the first to reach the Geographic North Pole. When they were taking their official measurements, Henson discovered that his footprints had already crossed the spot of the Geographic North Pole. It is believed that Henson planted the U.S. flag for the team.

Matthew Henson in 1912

1912 Photo of Matthew Henson [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Polar Explorer Robert Edwin Peary

Robert Edwin Peary [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the party returned to the United States, Robert Peary received most, if not all, of the attention for conquering the Pole, and for almost 20 years Henson received little acknowledgement for his achievement. In 1912, Peary did write a glowing forward to Henson’s autobiography. In 1937, Henson was invited to become the first African-American member of The Explorers Club. In 1946, Henson was awarded a medal, identical to the one given to Peary, by the U.S. Navy. And in 1954, he was invited to the White House by President Dwight Eisenhower to receive a special commendation for his early work as an explorer on the behalf of the United States of America.

Henson died in 1955.

On April 6, 1988, by order of President Ronald Reagan, Henson’s body was re-interred next to Peary’s tomb at Arlington National Cemetery. Henson’s monument reads: “Matthew Alexander Henson: Co-Discoverer of the North Pole.”

Find out more about Matthew Henson and other African-American heroes during Black History Month with eLibrary!

Black History Month in the Classroom

Portrait of Harriet Tubman in 1911.<br />  by Library of Congress, via Library of Congress  [Public Domain]

Portrait of Harriet Tubman in 1911.
by Library of Congress, via Library of Congress [Public Domain]

How do you integrate Black History Month into your classroom? Do you and your students follow Harriet Tubman along the Underground Railroad? Or celebrate the innovations and contributions of African American scientists? Perhaps you incorporate art and music into your lessons with the Harlem Renaissance, or introduce your students to the leaders and events of the Civil Rights Movement.

With SIRS Discoverer, you can do all this and more. Not only is the database a fantastic place to find articles and images that you can share with your students, but it’s a wonderful resource for young and curious researchers.

Let’s start by researching the Underground Railroad, a pivotal resistance movement during slavery. Try a Subject Heading search for Underground Railroad. You’ll find editor-selected and age-appropriate articles, maps, graphics, photos, and even external Web sites to help you create your lesson plan.

Looking for a biography on an African American scientist to share with your class? A Subject Heading search for African American scientists will return 13 biographies, including profiles of medical pioneer Vivien Thomas and physicist Louis Roberts. Photos are available, also. Or click on the Biographies link under Database Features on the home page and type in the name of a specific person–for example, agricultural innovator George Washington Carver. Four articles and eight photos are provided.

George Washington Carver, full-length portrait, seated on steps, facing front, with staff.
Source: Library of Congress [Public Domain]

Have you thought about incorporating African American art, music, and literature into your curriculum with a lesson on the Harlem Renaissance? SIRS Discoverer can help. A Keyword search for “Harlem Renaissance” provides more than 60 articles, so you can pick and choose your focus. Langston Hughes was an important voice of the Harlem Renaissance–your students could learn about his life and read two poems he wrote for children. Or you could bring some music and color into the classroom with a discussion about jazz legend Duke Ellington or montage artist Romare Bearden.

Do you want your students to do their own research? Maybe challenge the class: “Who were the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement and what did they do?” A Keyword search for “Freedom Riders” provides more than 20 editor-selected, age-appropriate articles and eight graphics and photos. Students feel empowered when they discover information and answers on their own. With SIRS Discoverer, it’s easy!

If you’ve never used SIRS Discoverer to help create a lesson plan, Black History Month may be the time to start. Simplify your research and empower your students. Be sure to check out this month’s Spotlight of the Month—we highlight the lives and works of African Americans, past and present. Join us in commemorating Black History Month.

Celebrating Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History

Most people know February is Black History Month.  But do they know there was a week of celebrating African American people and their achievements prior to Black History Month?  That week was called Negro History Week.  It was created in 1926 by the historian, Carter G. Woodson, who has been commonly referred to as the Father of Black History.

Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Woodson was one of the first historians to study the African diaspora and African American history.  He founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and its academic journal, the Journal of Negro History (now called the Journal of African American History), both of which still exist today.  He believed Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”  His contributions not only included advancing the study of African American history but also the advocating of education reform for African American children and equality for all.

Follow Carter Woodson’s lead by delving into African American history offerings in eLibrary.  Use eLibrary not only to learn more about Dr. Woodson and his work but also to learn more about other pioneering African Americans with whose accomplishments you may not be familiar.  For example, search Madame C.J. Walker.  Did you know she is considered the first female self-made millionaire?  Her beauty and hair care products launched a career in the early 20th century.  What about Hiram Revels?  He was the first African American to serve in the United States Senate.  Even more interesting is that he served Mississippi from 1870-1871 during Reconstruction.

In addition, check out eLibrary’s African American-centric publications.  From classic popular magazines like Ebony to scholarly journals such as the Journal of Negro Education, eLibrary offers what you need to complete a successful search regarding African American history.  And, finally, do not forget to browse ProQuest Research Topics where hundreds of African American history topics ranging from the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing to the Tuskegee Airmen serve as jumping off points to deeper study.

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight: Black History Month

Americans, both white and black, marching from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., in March 1965, in an effort to guarantee voting rights for all Americans. <br \> by James H. Karales, Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

Americans, both white and black, marching from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., in March 1965, in an effort to guarantee voting rights for all Americans.
by James H. Karales, Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

February is Black History Month. It’s a perfect time to celebrate African-American heritage, culture, and history, and to learn about the many African Americans who have contributed so much to the United States and the world! Read about the accomplishments of African Americans who made a difference with their ideas and actions, such as Hiram Revels, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Jackie Robinson.  This month is also a great opportunity to learn about organizations that have been vital to the progress of civil rights, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons, known as the NAACP. For more than 100 years, the NAACP helped minorities in their struggle for freedoms. The group supported the African-American labor movement of the 1930s and 1940s and, in the 1950s, was involved in the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Check out this month’s SIRS Discoverer’s Spotlight of the Month and join us in honoring African Americans and their continuing influence and triumphs.

 

SKS Spotlight of the Month: Black History Month

Eager African American Boy Scouts get ready to do their part by distributing posters in their neighborhoods <br \> 208-LU-13K-21, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

Eager African American Boy Scouts get ready to do their part by distributing posters in their neighborhoods
208-LU-13K-21, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

African-American history is integral to the history of the United States. Our nation and its ever-evolving notion of “freedom” rests on the backbone of the African-American experience. Stories of Black Americans overcoming great odds are interwoven into the fabric of the American experience. Consider the personal histories of such people as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.: the strength, resiliency, and wisdom of these individuals have inspired countless Americans and forever will be synonymous with the America’s heritage and culture. The American notion of “freedom”–what it stands for and what it means to society–reflects the struggles and triumphs of these and many more African Americans.

Join SKS during the month of February in celebrating Black History Month. Learn about and commemorate the achievements of African Americans throughout history and today.

Frederick Douglass–Slavery to Freedom

Frederick Douglass
[Public Domain]
Photo from Library of Congress

 Frederick Douglass was born around 1818 –there are no exact records of his birth–as Frederick Bailey. He escaped slavery at age 20 by boarding a train in Baltimore, Maryland. After surviving this uncertain and dangerous journey, he became a famous abolitionist, public speaker and author. As a youth, he never went to school but learned to read and write and eventually published his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. A pioneering figure in the abolitionist movement, he tried to end slavery before the Civil War. In the 1850s, Douglass was involved with the Underground Railroad, helping many slaves to freedom. As a free man he published a newspaper, The North Star  which was named after the star that the slaves followed when they ran away on foot and escaped to the free states of the North. Celebrate Black History Month by reading more about this important figure in U.S. history on SIRS Discoverer.

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight: Black History Month

Portrait of a young African-American from the "Negro Exhibition" created by W.E.B. Du Bois and presented at the Paris Exhibition, 1900. By Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

Portrait of a young African-American from the “Negro Exhibition” created by W.E.B. Du Bois and presented at the Paris Exhibition, 1900.
By Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

February is Black History Month! Celebrate with SIRS Discoverer by learning about African Americans and their accomplishments, history, culture and heritage.  Join people across the nation and honor the vital role African Americans played in shaping the country’s past and present. Meet Sojourner Truth and discover the immense impact she had on civil and women’s rights. Read about Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Get to know pioneering African-American athletes such as Moses Fleetwood Walker and John Baxter Taylor Jr. Visit the construction site of the National Museum of African American History and Culture,  a museum of black history being built in Washington, DC. From the slavery era through the civil-rights movement, from the courageous efforts of Ruby Bridges to the political success of Barack Obama, African Americans have shaped American history. Go to February’s Discoverer Spotlight of the Month and pay tribute to Black History Month.