We at GCP think parents should celebrate Black History every month. But since February is the “official” Black History Month (established as such in 1967 by President Gerald Ford; now there is a bit of BHM trivia for you), we will focus on some family “must-do’s” this month.

1. Talk about your Family History with your sons and daughters. If your young ones still enjoy bedtime stories, instead of reading one, pull out an old family photo album and go through some pictures with them. Tell them stories about your family, about the relatives you spent time with when you were their ages. Talk about your family history with your older children over dinners or when you can find some free time. As you tell the stories, try to give as many details as possible beyond what your immediate family was doing. What was life like where they grew up? Who were some of the Black leaders (local or national) in those days? Bringing Black History to life will make it much more meaningful to your children.

2. Get a DNA test to find out more about your family’s history. There are many companies that offer DNA testing, which will give you information about the parts of the world from which your ancestors have come. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., creator and host of the “Finding Your Roots” series on PBS, has a listing of resources including DNA testing services here. How fun and interesting it will be to share the results with your family!

3. Focus on books by and about Black Americans this month. Make sure that your children’s bookshelves are filled this month with books about our heroes, about the inspirational men and women who actually helped make America great. Here’s a list of “45 Books to Teach Children about Black History” which can help. Look for these books in your local libraries and actual or online bookstores.

More to come, the month’s still young. And since today is Thursday, we will end with a Thoughtful Thursday Black History poem for you to enjoy:

American History

Those four black girls blown up
in that Alabama church
remind me of five hundred
middle passage blacks,
in a net, under water
in Charleston harbor
so redcoats wouldn’t find them.
Can’t find what you can’t see
can you?

Michael S. Harper