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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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February is Black History Month: Interactive Notebook Activity

Black History Month:
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, organized a two week period in February,in 1926, to highlight contributions of African Americans. In 1976, the month of February was established as Black History Month.
The month of February was selected as it was the month in which both Frederick Douglass (abolitionist) and Abraham Lincoln (Emancipation Proclamation) were born.  Black History Month is also celebrated in Canada in February and in October in Great Britain.4. Since 1976, (President Gerald R. Ford),every president has deemed the month of February “Black History Month.”
Did You Know?
  • The first African American invited to the White House (by President Theodore Roosevelt) was Booker T. Washington. The educator was also the first African American to be honored on a U.S. postage stamp.
  • Dr. Mae C. Jemison was the first African American female astronaut. She went into space, in 1992.
  • Guion Bluford was the first American American to travel into space.
  • In 1821,Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent for an invention.(dry cleaning process)
  • George Washington Carver developed 300 products from the peanut, 118 from the sweet potato and 75 for the pecan! 2. Carver also invented PEANUT BUTTER.
  • The first American American to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court was Thurgood Marshall, in 1967.
  • The first African American elected to the U.S. Senate was Hiram Rhodes Revels.( 1870-1871)
  • Bessie Coleman was the first American American woman to get a pilot’s license and the first American to hold an international pilot’s license.
  • Olympian Jesse Owns broke 4 world records for track and field, at the 1936 Olympics, in Berlin, Germany. 
  • In 1909, African-American explorer Mathew A. Henson and Robert E. Peary made the first successful expedition to the North Pole.(for the USA).
  • In 1940,Dr. Charles Drew found a way to preserve blood and started the first blood bank.
  • Garrett Morgan invented a traffic light and a gas mask.
  • Ralph J. Bunche, in 1950, was the first African American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, for his efforts to mediate an  Arab-Israeli truce.
  • Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play for a Major League Baseball team.
  • In the 18th century, astronomer and inventor, Benjamin Banneker helped design Washington, DC.
  • During WW 2, the first African American pilot group were the Tuskegee Airmen.
  • An African American named George Crum, a chef, is created with inventing potato chips. The year was 1853.
  • Do you own a Super Soaker? Lonnie G. Johnson, an aerospace engineer invented the water gun.
  • Basketball great, Bill Russell, was the first black coach for a NBA team.
  • Like instant mashed potatoes? Dr. William C. Davis, invented them in 1959.
  • One of the earliest published African American authors was Phillis Wheatley. Her “Poems on Various Subjects “ was published inn 1773.
  • In the 1930s, Frederick McKinley Jones invented the air-cooling units that enabled foods to be transported distances without spoiling.
  • Dr. Carter G. Woodson once said,” It is never too late to learn.” What do you think he is saying by this statement?
  • Hispanic American Heritage Month is in October,Native American Heritage Month is in November, Black History Month is in February and Women’s History Month is in March. Do you think there is a need to highlight groups of people for their contributions today? Why, why not?
  • It is said that an important question we should each ask ourselves is: “ What is something you have done for someone else this week?
  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” What do you think this quote by Martin Luther King means?
Extension Activities:
Other resources of interest:
Reader’s Theater Script on Katherine Johnson:  Learn about Katherine Johnson, a physicist, space scientist and mathematician, who played a very important role with NASA’s early space missions. The movie Hidden Figures highlights the role of NASA's "computers" such as Katherine Johnson.