The Long Beach Public Schools have been honoring Black History Month in numerous ways these past few weeks. The district kicked off its events early this year, beginning with lessons focused on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January. More activities followed and many are still underway.
Throughout the buildings, students learned about Dr. King’s legacy and discussed his famous speech. The schools paid homage to his leadership and impact by showcasing pictures and quotes.
Long Beach High School’s African American Club developed a 2021 Black History Virtual Festival that provided opportunities to celebrate Black History Month throughout February. This year’s theme is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” and the club shared a set of educational resources. They invited peers to take part in a virtual exhibition at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, watch a Black History Makers video, join book discussions and poetry readings, witness the art of step dancing with Dance Afrika, code a Langston Hughes Poem and much more. They also spotlighted the Long Beach Public Library’s “Movin’ to Motown” exercise class and National African American Read-In with Professor Anissa Moore. Many of the other activities noted were sponsored by libraries in surrounding communities as well as media outlets.
High school students also created a collage of Historically Black Colleges that is displayed outside the counseling center and posted inspirational messages and images in the library and commons area. The Book Club, in collaboration with Director of Literacy Dr. Lorraine Radice, sponsored a virtual visit with “Dear Martin” author Nic Stone. Long Beach Middle School students participated in a Google Meet session with Janae Marks, author of “A Soft Place to Land” and “From the Desk of Zoe Washington.”
Other Middle School highlights include bulletin boards filled with information on Black authors, historical figures, artists, entertainers, innovators and athletes. Students are working on research projects that collectively form a “Periodic Table of Black History.” This week, they will view a PTA-sponsored assembly presented by Squeaky Clean that focuses on the Civil Rights Movement.