Uplifting Black Excellence—It’s Not Just for Black History Month

By Kenya Bradshaw
black boy holding school books

When I was growing up, I always felt the love of my family wrapped around me. While our home was not rich in resources, it was rich in love.

Every weekend, we’d take a trip to the local library. All week long I would anticipate sorting through the books and magazines, especially National Geographic. I soon learned that if I saved a dollar, I could buy four of those yellow-rimmed treasures to have as my own.

Through the public library, I became a lifelong lover of learning and reading National Geographic gave me vivid portraits of people, landscapes and animals from across the world—and sparked a joy for traveling and a passion for education. That passion has carried me around the globe, and ultimately helped me land in my work at Reconstruction.

To enrich our children’s education in the face of limited access to Black history and culture, it’s important to expose them to black excellence—all year-round! To help do that with your children, you can check out our 2023 Blackest Book List for a collection of stories, poems, and essays from classic and contemporary leaders of Black thought and literature.

Here are some of other things you can do to uplift black excellence in and out of school:

  1. Model what it looks like to notice and celebrate differences. Teach your child that diversity makes our nation strong. Black history isn’t just for February—it should be celebrated 365 days of the year.
  2. Prioritize exposing your child to examples of black greatness–not just this month, but throughout the year. Start with the Blackest Book List. Read to or along with your child. Make space for each other’s reactions and thoughts. Rememberreading shapes identity.
  3. Seek opportunities for your child to learn from a diverse set of educators. While this is extremely important for all kids, it’s especially so for kids of color. Studies show kids of color excel when they’re taught by educators of color. If your school or district doesn’t have diverse educators on staff, consider signing up for a Reconstruction course or seeking our afterschool programming to supplement what your child learns in schooland from whom.

Even when the world shut down with the pandemic, we were still able to support kids. We’re proud of this and everything that we’ve accomplished so far—and are starry-eyed for everything that’s to come.

In every child there is greatness.

Kenya Bradshaw is the Chief Program Officer for Reconstruction; an industry leader in curriculum development for black-centered education.

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