Black History’s Significance to Biracial Children

White or non- black mothers of biracial children need to be sure they are educating them on the other side of their existence. This is especially true if they are single parents and/or the child is not involved in that side of their family. As I have said before in a previous entry about skin tone differences, it’s really important to build on their self-confidence at an early age. This month is Black History Month. One common misconception about this celebration is that February was chosen because of the shorter length and colder weather. Here is a little history lesson on how it all started…

Carter G. Woodson started “Negro History Week” in February, 1926. He also founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which published the “Journal of Negro History” and later, “The Negro History Bulletin”. Woodson chose this month because of the birthdays of his idols Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. On the 50th anniversary of the beginning of “Negro History Week”, it was expanded to a month long celebration that is known as Black History Month today. School curriculums may not go too deep with teachings of black history, depending on the area. This may present an opportunity to help your children better understand where they come from.

Teaching your children to know their roots can be hard for a mother of a different race. Often times, parents disregard it, don’t talk about it, sweep it under the rug. This is not a good idea because it may cause the child to identify with only the white side. It helps to have people in their life that they can identify with. They need to know they are part of a race that survived so many things. Slavery was one of the worst atrocities in American history. Although it is a gruesome topic, it is history. Knowledge is power!

Now, with only 13% of the American population, African Americans are doing big things. From the plantation to the White House! African Americans dominate industries like sports, music and fashion. This race has literally survived the worst and came out on top. This is something to be proud of for sure! Teach your child to be proud of their heritage. They are born from survivors. Teach them about Frederick Douglass, the slave who taught himself to read and write and eventually escaped to his freedom. He was the product of a slave mother and her white master. His book “Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass” tells of the horrific conditions and extreme abuse slaves went through. It opens your eyes to what was reality for these people during that time.

Teach your child the other side of their heritage. Even if it’s just by showing them a movie or getting them a book to read. It’s important to know where you come from and to be proud of your ancestors. Next week, I will write more about biracial hair care tips. As always, stay tuned.

-Sherry Ulvick