Black History Month Celebration Ideas

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Black History Month celebration ideas offer students an opportunity to delve into the lives of important African Americans as well as understand more about African American history.

Black History Month

February is the United States' designated Black History Month and has been so since Gerald Ford officially recognized this specific time in 1976. However, special recognition of the events and historical figures in African American culture can be found as far back as the 1920s with the advent of Negro History Week, introduced by Carter G. Woodson. Today, schools and communities seek to educate others about the history and achievements of African Americans through a variety of Black History Month celebration ideas.

Fun and Educational Black History Month Celebration Ideas

Communities and schools celebrate this very special time in America's history by hosting educational lectures, dramatic and musical performances, festivals, and other organizational activities. Schools often design their curriculum around the study of African American history during the month of February as well. The following ideas can be modified to accommodate those who will be participating in the celebration.

Neighborhood Street Party

Black History Month provides an excellent opportunity for you to celebrate with the people in your neighborhood. You'll need to enlist the help of several others who can help you brainstorm and organize the party. The following is a list of celebration ideas and activities you can use to make your street party a success:

  • Hold a costume contest in which children and adults dress like their favorite famous African American.
  • Invite a few neighbors who are known for their oratory skills to dress up like famous African Americans in history and reenact a well-known speech.
  • Hold a poster contest two or three weeks before the party, and instruct children to create a poster about a famous event or person in African American history. Display the posters, and invite guests to vote on their favorites, categorized by age.
  • Ask each family to make a favorite African American dish to bring to the party.
  • Play a variety of music that is rich in African American culture.

Dramatic Reenactments

A series of dramatic reenactments can be held one night during the month of February at a local community center or theater. A month or two before the event, hold auditions for the event. Reenactments could include one-person monologues or short skits. Common topics could include Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Rosa Park's bus incident, or Olaudah Equiano's narrative on transatlantic slavery.

Cook-Offs

Many African Americans are famous for their cooking, so why not hold a cook-off? Invite participants to cook their favorite dishes, and host a taste competition. Categories could include the following:

  • Best barbeque
  • Best soul food such as best turnip greens, cornbread or catfish
  • Best fried chicken
  • Best salad
  • Best dessert
  • Best biscuits

Scavenger Hunt

Organize a scavenger hunt. This works great in a classroom. Create a series of questions that pertain to famous African Americans, and instruct students to find the person that matches the question. This is both an educational and a fun activity that students of all ages can enjoy.

Famous African American People

Whether you are creating a scavenger hunt, holding a poster contest, or sponsoring a dramatic reenactment of an event in African American history, the following is a list of famous African Americans who are often celebrated during Black History Month.

  • Arthur Ashe
  • Barbara Jordan
  • Benjamin Banneker
  • Bessie Coleman
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Carter G. Woodson
  • Charles Drew
  • Chuck Berry
  • Crispus Attucks
  • Duke Ellington
  • Elijah McCoy
  • Frederick Douglass
  • George Washington Carver
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Ida Wells-Barnett
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Jan Matzeliger
  • Jean-Baptist-Point DuSable
  • Jesse Owens
  • Joe Louis
  • Joseph Hayne Rainey
  • Langston Hughes
  • Leontyne Price
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Madame C.J. Walker
  • Mae Jemison
  • Malcolm X
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Mary Eliza Church Terrell
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Medgar Evers
  • Nat Turner
  • Olaudah Equiano
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Paul Robeson
  • Phillis Wheatley
  • Ralph Bunche
  • Rosa Parks
  • Scott Joplin
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • W.E.B. DuBois

Black History Month offers numerous opportunities to educate the adults and youth in your community. Make plans to celebrate this important part of America's history.

Black History Month Celebration Ideas