King School is kicking off Black History Month under the unified theme “Expressions of Excellence and Joy of the African Diaspora.” King’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Clyde Beverly III announced the theme to upper school students at a King Talk on January 31. “This year, we’re using a theme to guide us in moving away from talking only about the negative. Yes, those things are real and factual, but there’s a lot more that has happened that wasn’t always taught,” said Beverly.
Beverly began his presentation of the theme with an overview of how Black History Month came to be, noting that it was founded in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson for the purpose of highlighting the contributions and achievements of African Americans in order to combat racism and discrimination. He shared that Black History Month initially began as Negro History Week but was extended to a month-long celebration in 1970 and formally adopted nationwide by President Gerald Ford in 1976.
“It is important to honor the history and the reasons why we have this month, which is what Dr. Woodson wanted – To celebrate the excellence, joy, achievements, and contributions of African Americans in this country,” said Beverly.
In the Upper School, students will focus on a different discipline each week, featuring accomplishments in visual arts and literature, sports and media, politics and activism, and STEM, throughout the month.
The Middle School will mark its celebrations with extended advisories also dedicated to Black excellence and impact. Students will review several case studies spotlighting two figures of inspiration – one a pioneer from the past whose accomplishments paved the way for another prominent figure of today. Students will study how each success pushed a boundary to advance another generation forward.
In the Lower School, teachers have been provided resources on Black History Month to incorporate into grade-appropriate learning. Students will be reading books, watching movies, and having discussions on what they learned.
Across all divisions, Beverly emphasized King’s commitment to embracing a “3 E’s” approach to educate, engage, and empower students in all programming, teaching, and curriculum design to celebrate Black History Month.
“We’re going to educate. We’re going to open up our minds to increase our knowledge and awareness. We’re going to engage. Not only are we going to talk to each other but we’re going to listen as well. And we’re going to empower each other. We’re going to lift each other up,” added Beverly.
For additional resources on Black History Month, click here.