Research shows that only 8 to 9 percent of class time, equivalent to 1-2 lessons, is currently dedicated to Black history. Juneteenth being established as a federal holiday is an opportunity for educators to make a shift and expand upon the history, cultures, and experiences discussed in the classroom.
Celebrated annually on June 19, Juneteenth marks the date some of the last enslaved people in the Confederacy became free. While mainstream awareness of Juneteenth is somewhat recent, it is a long-celebrated event that should be a core part of history–social studies and other courses.
Here are three tips for incorporating discussion of Juneteenth throughout the school year.
1: Be proactive, and don’t limit yourself to June 19
While the official holiday takes place June 19, discussion of Juneteenth doesn’t need to be limited to a single day. Instead, educators can use the topic throughout the school year, weaving it into related lesson plans–such as discussion of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Students’ racial, ethnic and cultural identities are already an important part of what’s celebrated and shared in the classroom. Including Juneteenth in those discussions is necessary for truly recognizing and honoring every student’s heritage.
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