During Black History Month, a new approach to learning has students find out about lesser known African Americans and their contributions, instead of studying the usual civil rights leaders and historical figures. They are learning about doctors, politicians, and athletes who are less well known but who have contributed much to society.
At Brandywine Elementary School, second grade teacher Allison Treadway explained the approach. “We wanted to highlight African Americans in history who aren’t necessarily the typical ones we talk about … to give them a sense that it’s not just large actions,” she said. “You can do good, you can be a good person doing small actions, and that’s important as well.”
Students learned about Matthew Gaines, a minister and Texas senator who was a former slave. Gaines improved education for African American children. Treadway said she wanted to give students a more broad awareness of history. She and two other teachers have planned a month long celebration of Black History Month with the school’s principal. Other figures include opera singer Marian Anderson, Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, and surgeon Vivien Thomas.