Canada·CBC Forum

Your ideas on how to teach black history beyond Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a time to reflect and learn about the stories, experiences and accomplishments of Canada's black community. But is Black History Month still a good way to teach black history? How should we teach it beyond the month? You weighed in via CBC Forum.

Not everyone agrees with maintaining the month-long February tradition

Students sit next to each other on the actual bus where Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man 50 years ago in Alabama, during their school visit to Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

February is Black History Month, a time to reflect, share and learn about the stories, experiences and accomplishments of Canada's black community.

That means many educators will include the topic in their lesson plans.

But is that the best model?

CBC News posed the question this past week while looking at the month-long celebration. In the U.S., critics such as actor Morgan Freeman, argue that black history is part of his country's entire history and shouldn't be confined to just one month. Others say setting aside the month is important for education.

We gave you a chance to weigh in, asking: How should we teach black history beyond Black History Month? Should black history be taught during Black History Month only? Does the one-month focus on the topic help or hinder?

The discussion coincides with the special Being Black in Canada, airing today at 5 p.m. ET on CBC News Network. The program, hosted by CBC News' Asha Tomlinson, looks at the history of black activism in this country. Tomlinson joined the forum to chime in, give insight and answer questions. 

You replied via CBC Forum, our new experiment to encourage a different kind of discussion on our website. Here's a few of the most insightful, intriguing and thoughtful comments from the discussion.

Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.

Many offered their own suggestions for how to teach it.

  • "Imbed the contributions and experiences of African people in school curriculums, allow for diversity in stories told and story tellers." — Sema
  • "How about instead of teaching us that black and whites are different, why don't we teach children that we are all the same? We are one species, not two or three or any other number. We are all on this rock together and we need to start acting like it." — James David Papp​
  • "When you compartmentalize history, it becomes forgotten. We need to have our schools and communities spread the work that Black Canadians have done throughout the year ... keeping our history separate allows for separation to continue." — Alisha Parchment
  • "Black history is Canadian history. But the contributions of blacks have been consistently erased from what we learn in Canadian schools. What's the best way to teach black history? Integrated into the teaching of Canadian history. But until we get there, we'll continue to need Black History Month." — TorontoGirl
Each February, Canada and the U.S. remembers black history and historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. But not everyone agrees with maintaining the tradition of Black History Month. (AP Photo/Copyright 1963 Archive-TLC/HO)

Some provided personal anecdotes based on their time in the classroom.

  • "As a high school teacher I supplement in every unit. Essays, poetry, current events. Inclusivity is key all year." — Kim Alexander
  • "I just hope we're teaching Canadian history and not U.S. I moved from B.C. to Nova Scotia for a work term and had no idea about the history there. I'd never ever heard anything about it out west." — Bob L.

There were also some thoughts for the future.

  • "Teach black history as a way to reflect upon mistreatment in the past, what needs to be done in the present and future prospects. It's nothing too mind blowing, really." — AyooHolUp

You can read the full CBC Forum live blog discussion on black history and education below.

Can't see the forum? Click here