Saturday, March 28, 2009

Black History Month Project

Black History Month arouses a lot of controversy. Some speak of the importance of having such a month whereas others oppose it.

Black History Month Project was meant to challenge the students to get to the core of this delicate issue. They were asked to do their own research so that at the end they could express their personal opinion.

The outcome consisted in the fact that the students got a better understanding of the significance of this month. However, their views diverged: some expressed their support for this remembrance month, while the others considered it to be irrelevant nowadays.

The project was done in black and white which was supposed to represent the present-day harmonious coexistence of the Black and White races.

The students were interested why namely the month of February was chosen to honor great representatives of the African diaspora. The choice of the month was due to the birthdays of two key figures in the fight for the abolition of slavery: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. This made me think of an activity which would involve both creativity and concrete historic data. Thus, the students were asked to take an imaginary interview from Abraham Lincoln. They should think of two questions they would like to ask the 16th president of the USA. The third question took into consideration the modern context and said: "Mr. Lincoln, what do you think of the 2008 presidential elections and of the 44th president of the USA?" Then the students were supposed to think of possible answers. In this way several important events were mentioned, i.e. The Gettysburg Address, The Emancipation Proclamation as well as some information concerning the president's political career and personal life. This was a proof that the students had done some research before answering the questions.

There was made a parallel between Langston Hugh's poem Dreams and Martin Luther King Jr's famous speech I Have A Dream. Thus, we came to the conclusion that Black History is a history paved with dreams.

At the end, the students were asked to "have their say" and express their opinion whether there is still the need to have such a month.

I enjoyed working on this project as it enabled me to see how students perceive the Black History Month. Besides, it appears as a way of combining creativity with specific information.

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