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Lewis H. Latimer... Nathaniel Clifton... Charles H. Houston...
Frederick Douglass... Jesse Owens... Bill Cosby... Louis Armstrong...
Thurgood Marshall... the list goes on and grows longer
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Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Sojourner Truth: instantly recognizable personalities when you think about contributions from important black Americans.
Robert S. Abbott, Jill Brown, and Ernie Davis were on the front lines too - but they may not immediately come to mind. How do you mix the famous, the familiar, and the forgotten when talking about brilliant pioneers during Black History Month, so the event stays fresh?
Black history month activities always seem to revolve around the same circle of noteworthy people. Nothing is the matter with this, except the danger of potential boredom or apathy from non-history fans.
The February tribute comes around each year, so creative ways have to be used to keep it relevant in contemporary times of social advancement across the races. When Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926, he chose the second week of February between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, Black History Month was born.
A laundry list of first achievers gets stale as a pure informational exercise, yet there's always new discovery going on for the uninformed. Lectures, articles, and books can bridge the gap. But what are the other options? One of the best ways to introduce Black History Month material is in the form of a quiz or trivia.
Mixing topics with a broad range of interest from beginner to advanced will keep the trivia fun and interesting benefiting a wide range of readers. Subject material from the centuries of Richard Allen, Marion Anderson, Oprah Winfrey, and other African Americans will grab the attention of different age groups.
The Internet lends itself to interactive participation when it comes to quizzes. Players can provide feedback to rate the various questions. Quiz participants can get the answers to questions right away. Contenders can listen to audio hints with background information about the questions.
Reading a static article is one thing, but interacting with the same material in several dimensions is dynamic. Quiz and trivia challenges offer this magic element.
We love traditions, so I'd expect that Black History Month will be around for another 100 years, whether the need for it remains relevant or not. As an institution, this February event will have to keep reinventing itself in new and creative ways to conquer our society's short attention span for inspiring historical information.