We couldn't let February pass us by without celebrating Black History Month, so we are bringing you a variety of activities for our Monday Activity today! Black History Month is a great time for people of all ethnicities to learn more about African American culture and gain exposure to topics that may not come up on a regular basis.
Custom Kente Cloths
For our more artistic mentees, consider drawing out a personalized Kente cloth with them. Kente is a ceremonial African cloth native to Ghana, but still used to celebrate African-American culture. The cloth is traditionally created by weaving narrow strips of brightly colored, intricate, geometric patterned fabric together, but you and your mentee can create the same effect using strips of paper and glue.
Each color in Kente cloth has a symbolic meaning, so your mentee can choose the colors that mean the most to them.
African American Inventor Facts
If your mentee is more of a history buff, consider celebrating Black History Month discussing the contributions of Black inventors and innovators. Our Project Shine and Career Path mentees may find it especially inspiring to learn about these individuals who chased their dreams and became pioneers.
This is an excellent learning opportunity for both of you to discover some of the lesser known Black inventors. For instance, we all know that Daniel H. Williams was the first person to successfully perform open-heart surgery, Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, and that Garret A Morgan invented the traffic signal; but most people do not know that Morgan also invented the gas mask, that John Burr invented the lawn mower, or that shoes were made affordable for the masses thanks to Jan Matzeliger and his shoe lasting machine.
Here are a few more lesser known Black inventors:
Patricia E. Bath- Laserphaco Probe, a device used to perform cataract surgery
Lloyd P. Ray- Dust Pan
Otis Boykin- Pacemaker
Alice Parker- Heating Furnace
Picture books are a great way of giving younger mentees a history lesson in a way that is captivating and interesting to them. Your mentee's school library probably has some, if not all, of these wonderful picture books that tell powerful stories of slavery, segregation, and overcoming in a manner suitable for children. Take a trip to the school library and talk to your mentee about Ruby Bridges, Bessie Coleman, and the 1963 March on Washington D.C.