Primary Literacy

Black History Month

Many people believe that if racism didn’t exist then we wouldn’t need to celebrate Black History Month because all the achievements of these people would be recognised alongside those of their white counterparts. In studying their achievements, we must recognise that their fame was earned in spite of prejudice and, even today, many of them still don’t receive the acclaim they deserve, hence why we have this special month in the year.

Activity: Why do we celebrate Black History Month?

Suitable for: Year 2 to Year 6

Learning Focus:  Understand that many people who have made history have done so despite prejudice against them

Learn to respect people and their achievements whatever their race or religion

Begin with a discussion based on the following questions:

      • What does it mean to ‘make history’?
      • Can anyone make history?
      • How would you do it?

Now ask them this…

      •  Should it matter who you are, whether you’re a boy or a girl or what your skin colour is?

Explain to the pupils that ANYONE can make history, anyone of the class or in their school can at any time of their lives make history and that in doing so, others will celebrate their achievements.

Read them the story of Jesse Owens. A short version of his story can be found here: A more detailed account can be found here:

      • What was his special talent?
      • What prejudices did he face?
      • How did he overcome them?

Activity Two: Black People Who Made History

Suitable for: Year 2 to Year 6

Learning Focus:   Be able to find information from different sources and present it with a view to the audience

To understand how and why people fight to overcome prejudice

 Collins Big Cat series has several books on famous black people from history. Some of the names include:

Harriet Tubman Walter Tull
Olaudah Equiano Benjamin Zephaniah
Kwame N Acheampong Martin Luther King
Ade Adepitan  Mary Seacole
Frederick Douglass


Ask the pupils to find out through reading the books and doing further research online, what these people did to become famous and what prejudice they faced in doing it. Ask them whether they think they would face the same prejudice in today’s society Finally, ask them to find another example of a black person who made history. Did they face prejudice? How did they overcome it?

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