Celebrating Black History Month Abroad

Those that know me well know that I stay equipped with Black History facts and examples of current day Black excellence. My master’s degree is in African American Studies…it comes with the territory. Yet, I still enjoy having a month dedicated to my culture–a month when I can roll up looking like Angela Davis on a Wednesday and then rock an outfit from the Black Panther movie on a Saturday afternoon with nationally accepted reasoning *grabs jar of shea butter*.

This year my husband and I have decided to celebrate Black History Month as a family. This is a big deal and actually quite a project as Black History Month is an American celebration that we are trying to celebrate in the UAE with our children that attend British schools and nurseries. But if we don’t acknowledge it , our children won’t know that it exists.

As I’m having to celebrate from scratch, I’ve had to become a bit more creative with my integration of our history and culture. While we often talk about Black history and what it means to be Black, I still really want them to be aware of this month long celebration. So far, we’ve focused on a main career or hobby a day and then researched Black Americans that have contributed to that field.¬†Today is only day four and my children have already learned a good bit. We researched Black American Astronauts yesterday as Benjamin said that he wants to be a rocket ship person when he grows up. From that, Mila has already requested to dress up as Mae Jemison for International Day at her and Aaron’s school at the end of this month. Our family’s black board calendar has Black History Month written, hugely, at the top and it includes Frederick Douglass’s birthday and the Black Panther’s movie release date. I decided against Abraham Lincoln’s birthday–but we will definitely discuss him when we talk about Carter G. Woodson. Mila’s show-and-tells this month will ¬†highlight Black Americans and our culture through homemade posters and other visuals. Lastly, alongside Mila, Aaron will go dressed as either Spike Lee or President Barack Obama for International Day. We’ll talk about them both and then I’ll let him decide (though I’m secretly rooting for Spike but mainly because I think that Aaron would look super cute in huge frames and a flipped up hat).

I’m also relying on books and movies to celebrate this holiday. Books like “Look What Brown Can Do” written by T. Marie Harris and illustrated by Neda Ivanova and movies like “A Ballerina’s Tale” and “Garrett’s Gift” are on high on my list. Today Mila will start reading “June Peters You Will Change the World Some Day” written by Alika R. Turner and illustrated by Naafi N. Rohma just to sprinkle in a bit more Black Girl Magic for good measure.

If you have any other suggestions or a tried-and-true, I’d love to hear about it. Happy Black History Month to you all!