The Reading About Diversity (R.A.D.) Series is a Kindergarten -5th grade program that is run by parent volunteers. The curriculum, designed by two educators with expertise in diversity and literacy, will help our students to better understand and celebrate our diverse world. At each grade level, five children’s books have been selected with related questions already prepared. Each book also includes writing and/or drawing extensions. Each lesson takes about forty-five minutes to an hour and takes place in your child’s classroom.
Black History Month: Incredible Black Children Throughout History
Black History Month is a great time to reflect on all of the incredible black people throughout history who have accomplished outstanding feats or impacted this country in a great way. This month, we wanted to bring attention to some outstanding black children throughout history, and their unbelievable accomplishments. Some of them are well-known, and others you may have never heard of, but either way, their stories are sure to impress you.
Ruby Bridges, Age 6
In history class, you probably learned about Ruby Bridges. Ruby was the first black student to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary school. Although she was one of four black children participating in this history-making change, she was the only one who was doing it alone. Although she faced a lot of hate and threats by people who did not support desegregation, at six years old, she remained brave and calm, and walked into that school every day, opening the doors for so many other children who came after her.
Claudette Colvin, Age 15
You have probably heard about Rosa Parks, but have you heard about Claudette Colvin? Claudette was actually the first black female to not give up her seat for a white person, doing so a few months prior to Rosa Parks’ more famous refusal. She was arrested and taken to jail, even though she was a minor. She was afraid of the backlash of her actions, but stood by her choice, a true activist at 15 years old.
Mari Copeny, Age 8
You may know her as Little Miss Flint, the little girl who wrote a letter to Obama that moved him to visit Flint, Michigan. Mari has been a large voice in the efforts to bring attention the water crisis in Flint, both with her activism online, and the fundraisers and drives she has run in-person.
Mo’ne Davis, Age 12
In 2014, Mo’ne Davis let the world know that Little League wasn’t just for little boys. She was the first african-american girl to play in the Little League World Series, and was the first girl to earn a win and pitch a shutout in all of Little League World Series history. Mo’ne was also one of the only two girls to play in the 2014 Little League World Series, and the first Little League baseball player to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Misty Copeland, Age 15
Misty Copeland danced her way into the spotlight in 1997, when she won the Los Angeles Music Centre Spotlight Award. What makes Misty extra special is her quick rise to the top. Most professional dancers have been practicing since soon after they could walk, but Misty discovered her talents much later. After only dancing for two years, she was known as the best dancer in LA at 15.
Mikaila Ulmer, Age 4
After being stung by a bee, twice, Mikaila Ulmer became curious about bees and their impact on our ecosystem. Using her grandmother’s recipe, she created a company called Me & the Bees Lemonade. Now at age 13, her famous flaxseed lemonade can be found at Whole Foods Market and a number of restaurants and delivery companies. Mikaila puts a percentage of these profits towards local and international organizations that work to save the honeybees from extinction. She also spends a lot of her time educating others on what they can do to help save the bees.
Sandra Parks, Age 13
Sandra Parks was an advocate against gun violence. In 2016, she wrote an essay titled “Our Truth,” that won third place in Milwaukee Public School’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest. Unfortunately, months later, she was shot and killed in her own home when a gunman opened fire near her house, and a stray bullet shattered her bedroom window. Although she is no longer with us, her memory serves to remind us the truth in her words, and they will live on to inspire others to create the change she wished to see in her community.
Chloe x Halle, Ages 15 & 17
Chloe and Halle Bailey started their singing career on Youtube making covers, with their artist name, Chloe x Halle. Their unique R&B sound caught the attention of Beyonce Knowles herself, on a cover they did of her song, Pretty Hurts. They were later invited to be Beyonce’s opening act for the European portion of her Formation World Tour in 2016. The following year they dropped their first album, which later made it to Rolling Stones’ list of Best R&B Albums of 2017.
Marley Dias, Age 12
Marley Dias was tired of reading stories that only ever featured “little white boys and dogs,” so she decided to do something about it. She collected over 7000 books in which the main characters are black girls, like herself. She then created a donation drive, with the hashtag #1000BlackGirlBooks, to help other little black girls find representation in the stories they were reading. She now has a zine on Elle called “Marley’s Mag,” where she has even interviewed such famous people as Hillary Clinton.
Egypt Ufele, Age 10
Egypt was bullied for her size. She decided to turn pain into passion, and began creating her own clothes. She later created a clothing line for all sizes, Chubiiline. Her clothing line debuted at New York’s Fashion Week, when she was only 10 years old.
Nyeeam Hudson, Age 11
Nyeeam Hudson, also known as his social media alias, King Nahh, was another victim of bullying at 10 years old. Instead of allowing the words of his bully to hurt him, he decided to take this as an opportunity to educate others on valuing your mind over material items. Nyeeam is now a motivational speaker, with over 257K followers on Instagram, where he makes inspirational videos to help other children who are dealing with bullying. He also travels around the world, giving speeches to other children, sparking kindness and a love for education everywhere he goes.
All of these children and their stories remind us that we can be the change we seek to see in the world, and that there is no limit to what we can accomplish, at any age. Share their stories with others this month, and inspire those around you to be as amazing as these children are. Use the hashtag #BlackKidMagic so that we can find your posts. Do you know of any other incredible black children throughout history that you think more people should know about? Let us know in the comments down below.