2020 Feb Newsletter
FEBRUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER
The life of Zora Neale Hurston by Ariana (a third-grade student)
Why Black History Month by Aiyana Brooks
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THE LIFE OF ZORA NEALE HURSTON by Ariana (a third-grade student)
Zora Neale Hurston was a folklorist and a novelist. She grew up in Eatonville, Florida. As a child she loved to read. Zora felt she was a special child. She thought the moon followed her because she thought she was the moon's favorite child. At the age of thirteen she attended Florida Baptist Academy and was the youngest student. After that she attended high school and got her diploma. Soon she entered Howard University, a Historically Black College, in Washington, DC. She got into writing there.
She moved to Harlem, New York in the 1920s during the Harlem Renaissance. She became close friends with Langston Hughes. She wrote plays such as Mule Bone, Color Struck, Spunk, and Polk County. She also wrote books such as Mules and Men, Jonah's Gourd Vine, Moses of the Mountain, Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" and Their Eyes Are Watching God. A poem called Home started her writing career.
In Zora Neale Hurston's lifetime she had many jobs and troubles but she made through and she still stayed true to herself. And she never gave up hope. Even though her life came to an end at age 69, she was great.
WHY BLACK HISTORY MONTH by Aiyana Brooks
Carter G. Woodson began "Negro History Week" (which would eventually become Black History Month) in 1926. He chose February because it coincided with the birthdays of two important historical figures - Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Fifty years later, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Nearly a century after its conception, the idea of "Black History Month" is still very necessary. Although Black people have been in this country since America's infancy, our stories are conspicuously omitted from elementary school education. Ideally, black history would be integrated into the fabric of the public school curriculum and recognized for what it is - American history. In the meantime, the centuries of struggles and accomplishments of Black Americans get relegated to a single month of discussion. And in recent years, February has become so jam-packed with many other celebrations - 100 Days of School, Kindness Week, Valentine's Day, Groundhog's Day, President's Week - that less and less emphasis is placed on Black History Month (in fact, it is unlikely that most teachers will even mention Black History Month and those who do tend to save the discussion to the final week of February, bringing us full-circle to its original time frame of only one week).
As a parent of a young brown-skinned girl, I know that it is unlikely that she will learn many stories about people who look like her in school. Therefore, I must supplement what she learns in school with my own curriculum. I will make sure that she learns about people such as, Madame C. J. Walker, Katherine Johnson, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, just to name a few.