Celebrating African American History Month

Posted: Saturday, January 25th 2020

Throughout our nation’s history, African Americans have contributed to the development of our culture in countless ways. The month of February is designated as National Black/African American History Month in order to recognize these contributions.

African American history reflects a determined spirit of perseverance and cultural pride through struggles to equally share in the opportunities of a nation founded upon the principles of freedom and liberty. The history and contributions of African American citizens were consistently overlooked, misinterpreted, and undervalued in the curriculum of public education institutions prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. National Black/African American History Month seeks to bridge the gap wherein American history failed to accurately portray and record the achievements of African Americans.

San Diego Unified strives to accelerate the achievements of all students and recognizes the diversity reflected within the San Diego community as well as its students and staff. A landmark 2019 study reflected this commitment, showing that African American students in San Diego Unified achieve at higher levels on state tests and graduate high school at higher rates than elsewhere in California.

If you're in the Education Center, stop by our African American History Month displays in the lower lobby near the auditorium, and in the 2nd floor waiting area

Throughout the district, students at all grade levels, staff, parents, and community members actively engage in educational activities that present opportunities to better understand and appreciate the contributions provided by African Americans. This year is no exception; resources highlighting African American history and culture are available to students and staff throughout the month and after.


How are we celebrating and honoring African American history?

The SDUSD Youth Advocacy Department has set up a Black History Month resource page for students and staff to get involved, and highlights the work of our schools' Black Student Unions.


Students and staff recently celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through long-running traditions and service, and will be continuing to engage with African American culture through a variety of events and learning opportunities taking place throughout the district: 

  • Black College Expo – January 29
    More than 300 students will attend from San Diego Unified high schools. Our counseling team will be available to provide students with transcripts and assist so they can receive as many scholarships as possible.
  • Mariea Antoinette Concert – February 3
    Ms. Antoinette, who was awarded the 2018 Best Jazz Single for “Overture” by the Black Women in Jazz & the Arts Association, will be at Horton Elementary School for their morning assembly.
  • Harlem Renaissance Faire – February 4, TBD
    At Morse High School
  • BSU Black Minds Matter Resource Fair – February 5
    Mission Bay High School’s Black Student Union Girls Leadership workshop 11-12 grades
  • Club Rush with BSU Table – February 6
    Mission Bay High School
  • “Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.?” – February 11
    PASS Americorps Mentors Presentations through history classes, at Mann Middle School
  • African American History Display – February 12
    Fulton K-8 Middle School Student Presentations for African American History - displayed in the auditorium for the community view and attend.
  • “Black Love: Loving Ourselves and Our Community” – throughout February
    Madison High School will do up to three activities that include having a college fair, a cooking class, a potluck, speaker presentations and service project.

Don't miss an amazing event on Tuesday, February 25!
Join us for a conversation with civil rights icon Professor Bernard Lafayette, the first national chairman of the Poor Peoples Movement and coordinator of the Selma, Alabama voting rights movement. Register online for free.

What can you do to learn more about African American history?

In the words of B.B. King, the King of the Blues himself, ""The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." Here are some great resources for learning about African American history and culture through exploratpry activities - we encourage every educator, parent, and student to take a look:

Black History Month Lessons & Resources, Grades K-5

Black History Month Lessons & Resources, Grades 6-8

Black History Month Lessons & Resources, Grades 9-12

man speaking to crowd
Emcee Jordan Harrison speaks to San Diego Unified students and staff at last year's African American Achievement Summit

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