African-American Firsts!


For Black History month, I assigned my students projects on trailblazers- the first in their field. I definitely wanted them to do a project for Black History month, but was just tired of students wanting to report on Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, or some other well-known figure that’s been done to death. Don’t get me wrong. I want my current & future students to know about these people, but I also want them to know about the less well known contributors who don’t get as much credit. So, my challenge to them was to find a trailblazer who contributed to all mankind, not just Blacks. Of course they proffered up Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, The Rock or Dwayne Johnson as he’s known now. My question to them was, “What have they done besides be great at their chosen profession & have brown skin or black heritage?”

They gave me blank stares, but they finally started to get it. Once they got it, they chose well. So, here is the list of people my students chose:

Jack Johnson, Marian Anderson, Shirley Chisholm, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Carter Woodson, & a couple I can’t remember right now that I will update once I find my list. I am excited about this assignment. I am going to put on a show for the Principal complete with faces stapled to giant tongue depressors.

How’s that for putting on a show?

P.S.- I have a great link to a wikipedia for African-American firsts that take you back to the 1800s & the first known black man to publish a book by the name of Jupiter Hamon. Like to see it, here it goes: Wikipedia link- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_firsts

HERE’S TO 2011!

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