When Carter G. Woodson (the historian, author, journalist, and founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) created Negro History Week in 1926, he didn't initially plan its transformation into Black History Month, or foresee that it would grow beyond the borders of the United States to be celebrated in various countries and under various names including African History Month, African Heritage Month, and more.
The goal of African History Month, whatever its local name, is clear: to enjoy the myriad cultures of the African planet, revel in the brilliance of 5000 years of African civilizations, and learn the best lessons from all of it to build the future we deserve.
If you want your school to plan for next February's African History Month celebration, the best time to start is March 1! That's because if you're going to be effective at helping students generate excitement, plan amazing events, and empower themselves intellectually and socially, you need as much time as you can get.
However, assuming it's not March 1, use whatever time you have. Certainly, the beginning of the new school year is a great time to help students organize their in-school AHM calendar, book guest presenters, arrange resources, and publicize the month of events.
As well, there's no reason you need to stop with the shortest, coldest month of the year. If students at your school have an Africentric club, or wish to create one, you can help them to plan and deliver the activities on this page (and more) year-round.
If you want help planning those events, or would like to share with us your plans, successes, photographs, video, and more so that we can help others learn about them, please contact Project Saqqara today. We can connect you with plans and organizations to help you present:
▲Sbai (Africentric instructor or artist) in Residence
▲Spoken word, poetry, and sketch comedy performances
▲Student performances and speeches
For more ideas, see the list of contests below!
HARNESS THE POWER OF CONTESTS
One of the easiest ways to get people to create useful and rewarding content and actions is to harness the power of pro-social competition. With a small amount of money or prizes (which a school could arrange through donations, crowd-funding, and other means), you could offer individual students and teams the chance to gain and share their knowledge of using fascinating Africentric information to improve their own lives, their schools, and their communities.
In his book Abundance,XPRIZE Chair Peter H. Diamandis describes several historical innovation prizes, including the 1714 Longitude Prize for measuring longitude at sea (the original GPS), the 1795 prize for food-preservation that creating canning, and the Raymond Orteig Prize that led Charles Lindberg to fly solo, non-stop, across the Atlantic Ocean in 33 hours in 1927, giving birth to the world-changing aviation industry.
Today, the XPrize innovation contests have produced advances in sub-orbital flight, oil spill removal, lunar landing, ocean health, medical “tricorders,” women’s safety, water abundance and more.
You don't need to raise millions or even thousands of dollars to get competitors excited. For just $500 you could offer a $250 first prize, a $150 second prize, and a $100 third prize. If you can get donations of gear, technology, gift certificates and more, you can generate even more enthusiasm!
Work with students to identify exciting concepts for contests and ways to assess winners, including community leaders who can serve as judges (and possibly as mentors).
There are endless possibilities for topics, and getting students to look at the list of links of pro-social contest links above and find others online is an excellent way to start. Below are some Africentric contest topics to generate fun or fulfill important objectives:
▲Video-making (as on YouTube and TikTok) about food, fashion, peak-performers, and even original short comedies and dramas
EMPOWER STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
If students at your school already have an Africentric club, or would like to create one, you can help them achieve maximum enjoyment, fellowship, and life-changing value from it by helping them:
▲Survey their needs
What personal and social problems do they want to fix that are actually within their grasp to do so? Using a combination of S.M.A.R.T. goals and S.O.W.O.T. planning, your can help them transform from pie-in-the-sky dreamers who become disillusioned to insightul, productive planners and developers who tackle real difficulties with practical solutions!
The world is far more than problems. It's opportunities in education, business, the arts, entertainment, science and technology, culture, travel, leisure, and more. You can help them brainstorm ideas and plan how to achieve them, helping them discard small notions for big, realizable dreams!
▲Connect with community organizations and guest speakers
The Adinkra ideogram Ti Koro Nko Agyinameans "One head does not constitute a council." Acting alone, no individual can achieve sustained excellence, because we all depend on others for the insight and share laboured required to accomplish lasting greatness.
Africentric student groups will achieve far more when they connect with organizations from the various African communities in your city. Those organizations are where they'll find guest speakers, resources, opportunities, and even mentorships for community service, post-secondary education, career development, entrepreneurship, the arts, personal growth, and more.
Start by asking students what organizations they already know, or with which they have family and other connections. Help them search for more online. If you're stuck, let Project Saqqara help.
START A NEW ERA FOR YOUR STUDENTS TODAY
Ask how Project Saqqara can help your classroom, your school,
or your school district help students and teachers succeed