The Importance of Teaching Black History


February marks Black History Month in the United States. The history of the month dates back to the 1920s when it was celebrated for a week. It then grew to the month-long celebration we know now in the 1970s as part of a movement by Black students and faculty at Kent State University.

“Although we drive home the importance of Black history during February, YouthQuest sites include lessons in Black history and culture year-round,” says Nefertari Jones, program director of YouthQuest. “It is important to make sure we extend these lessons to provide cultural education and historical representation for our students.”

Flint Community Schools and International Academy of Flint, the schools which YouthQuest serves, demographically have a majority of Black students, which makes teaching Black history and culture that much more important.

During the month of February, students will participate in Black history-related activities such as:

  • Learning about Black inventors and the contributions they have made to modern society.
  • Watching videos that feature prominent Black Americans such as Maya Angelou.
  • Exploring African American art and recreating various art styles.
  • Learning about food from Black cultures and how to make cultural dishes.

At YouthQuest, some of the ways that sites continue the lessons of Black history and culture are:

  • Teaching about diversity and inclusion.
  • Discussing current events such as Black Lives Matter protests and connecting them to historical events.
  • Ensuring that Black history is embedded in trivia activities.
  • Exploring culture as it relates to the African Diaspora such as through traditional dance.

To learn more about Black History Month, visit

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.