Black History Month offers teachers a wonderful opportunity to teach students about some of the great heroes in American history who are sometimes overlooked. Teaching about history through music is an exciting and effective way to engage students.
Two of a Kind has recorded a number of songs about African American heroes including
- What Can One Little Person Do? which mentions Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King;
- Paul Robeson Song (Powerful Voice)
- Do You Want to be Free? – a song about Harriet Tubman written by 4th grade students;
- I Just Want to Sing Your Name (The Martin Luther King Song); and
- Girls Who Rocked the World, which includes a verse about Bessie Smith.
These songs give some facts about individuals who made a difference in the history of the United States. It can be valuable to pair these songs with a research activity, such as making a poster about an individual person. A wonderful book by Faith Ringgold called Dinner at Aunt Connie’s House will introduce students to a whole host of people about whom they may never have heard.
In addition to songs about specific African Americans, it’s also important to talk about why we have Black History Month and why it is important to learn about the contributions of African Americans. Learning songs from the time of slavery, such as Follow the Drinking Gourd and Oh Mary Don’t You Weep will help put some of the history into context.
Two of a Kind has also recorded songs about confronting racism, celebrating diversity and human rights for all. These songs include
- Walls and Bridges, a story song about two girls from different backgrounds who become friends;
- Red, White and Blue, We are a Patchwork Quilt, All Over this World, and Colors of Earth which celebrate diversity, and
- Some Rights in this World, which extols the rights of all people.
These are just a few of the many resources available to help celebrate Black History Month with your students.
Written by Jenny Heitler-Klevans. Two of a Kind