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Contemporary Images for Black History Month

By Christy Crawford on January 31, 2014
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Photo Credit: Eunique Jones Gibson for the Because of Them, We Can™ Campaign

In February, will your school be flooded with antiquated pictures of Frederick Douglas or Harriet Tubman? Will it be flooded with images that don't resonate with most kids or adults? Refresh history lessons with culturally relevant images that will excite and inspire. Check out the Because Of Them, We Can campaign and one savvy mom's push to change the way we teach history. Take a sneak peak at her story and photos below.

Students in Baltimore, MD, are armed with facts and study guides and are gearing up for grand assemblies dressed as their favorite Because of Them, We Can historical icons. What could you do with Eunique Jones Gibson's powerful images? Take a look at some of the ideas below and then share your ideas with our readers.

1. Blast a Becauseofthemwecan.com image on your whiteboard or a large wall to spark substantive conversation for morning meetings. Grab the book or print images from the site to jumpstart writing notebook entries and be prepared to discuss the quotes or text on each picture.


2. Have students research their favorite historical icon and then photograph themselves in period costumes for engaging e-biographies using StoryKit, StoryBuddy 2, or Book Creator. (These e-book creation apps allow users of any age to easily add photos, draw, add text and audio, and share their creations.)


3. Create an interactive museum. Have students shoot 2-3 minute short films about each historical icon. Upload your videos and create a QR code for each (For easy QR code instructions, see my post, QR Codes in the Classroom.) Place the QR code or compelling QR-coded audio underneath each icon's image. Give small groups or classes ample time to scan the codes and enjoy!


Learn more about Eunique Jones Gibson and her campaign in the "Behind the Lens" series on PBS. For additional fresh ideas for black history month, check out my posts on the Negro Baseball Leagues and more at...

Picture Books for America's Favorite Pastime

More Fab Favorites for Black History Month

Four Favorites for Black History Month

Capturing Stories of the Civil Rights Movement

Comments (11)

These Boston first graders present Dr. King's message with a new spin. They are culturally relevant for sure! Link to Huffington Post article: http://huff.to/1evwt99

Great to see the campaign evolve! I've witnessed the inspiration and engagement of our middle and high-schoolers interacting with of this campaign. They were challenged and empowered to critically engage how they can use various art forms and modern technology to give voice to injustice issues in their schools and communities. As an educator, I look forward to more innovative tools utilizing art and technology to bridge past and present.

This campaign has completely transformed Black History Month into a movement that’s now celebrated 365 days a year… Energetic, Engaging and Educational! Job well done Eunique & Scholastic

I think this campaign is fantastic. With so many distractions students must navigate through in today's classrooms and beyond, the innovative approach to teaching and engaging our youth is very refreshing!

As a former educator, I wish I had something like this in my classroom to inspire and educate my students during Black History Month.

This is an epic, refreshing take to introduce children to some of the African-American heroes they may not know about and allow them to see other often mentioned historical Black figures in a new light.

The Because of Them, We Can campaign is really amazing and definitely pays an amazing amount of respect to African-American heroes and past and present while preparing our young minds to become future leaders.

As a secondary educator images such as these will help to provide the youth with a fresh way of looking at those who came before them. Seeing the youth portraying these great figures allows this generation to make a connection to them. Bravo Scholastic for highlighting such an awesome movement and bravo Eunique Jones Gibson for not only the vision, but the beautiful execution of the campaign. I can't wait to share this with my colleagues!

I think this is a very unique approach to teaching about historic black leaders. Oftentimes our youth sees historical figures as that - figures and fail to connect with them as people like you and me. This campaign and images should resonate with the youth because the kids photographed look like them or other kids in their school and hopefully inspires them to learn more. I've been following the campaign since inception and it continues to inspire me on many levels.

Bravo Eunique and Scholastic! The youth need to see more modern images of Black historical figures that they can relate to. The campaign is not only inspiring but also fresh, contemporary and relevant to our young people.

Would love to see more work like this in kids' curriculum.

I am not sure why you would think anyone is trashing pictures. Many of her pictures are of many of the giants we grew up learning about-- just a different twist on it. Please let's allow this to be a great moment without any type of negativity. I am glad this has made it into our classrooms!

we shouldn't knock the pictures of the past to create the contemporary look of the future..I commend you for refreshing young minds but don't trash the history to make yours more relevant it is BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Great job Scholastic & Soror Eunique Jones. Refresh the minds of our younger generation.

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