Extending Black Excellence Beyond Black History Month – Extension Activities

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Extending Black Excellence Beyond Black History Month – Extension Activities

Written by: Educator Barnes

November 4, 2022
Girl with headphones in class.
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

During the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021, the Black Hoosier Excellence Series was born at Keep Indiana Learning. The death of George Floyd sent a shockwave across the United States and around the globe. People joined together for social justice, equity, and peace. What also bubbled to the surface was a need for diverse representation. “Representation matters” is a phrase that has been used time and time again. Students need to learn stories about people who look like them. It is also just as crucial for students to learn stories about people who do not look like them or come from the same racial, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic background. Stories of diverse populations should not only center around trauma, pain, and oppression. Although the curriculum should tell the whole story, even the bad parts, it should also include celebratory parts. Earlier this year, I explained the events that pushed me to create and continue this series. The best part of this series is hearing from adults and children from all racial backgrounds who have been touched and uplifted. In 2021, I did short videos about Black people who were born a Hoosier or made Indiana their home for part of their lives. In addition to those videos, there were extension activities to learn more. In 2022, I shifted from summary interviews to interviewing Black Hoosiers who exude excellence. There were no extension activities provided. We have heard you and are now providing ways students can learn more about the guests featured in the series interview videos so they can learn more about their professions and contributions to society. With each video, we will include a link to extension activities teachers and students can use to learn more about fellow Hoosiers and to hopefully help all children to think more deeply about their future career paths. Below, I have included three-panel extension activities for the people featured in the 2022 interviews thus far.

Use the links below to research about Emil Ekiyor’s work. Write a speech to share what you have learned. Read why youth entrepreneurship is helpful to kids. After reading, write a list of ideas that a kid could pursue to start a business.

Dr. Nealy shared about three relatives. Pick one to learn more about and record a short video explaining how you or others can be inspired by that person.

Senator Rev. Hiram Rhodes Revels Attorney Thomas I. Atkins

After reading about both Olivia America Davidson Washington and Dr. Amanda Washington Lockett, create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the women.

Olivia America Davidson Washington Dr. Amanda Washington Lockett

Read the articles below about Donte Wilburn. Answer the following prompts:

  1. What obstacles did he have to overcome, AND how did he over come them?
  2. Explain a time you have to overcome an obstacle. How did you overcome it?
Go to the links below to learn about Donte’s businesses: Premier Auto Detailing and Wash and Legacy Courts. Write down five questions you would like to ask him about his work.



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  • Educator Barnes

    Educator Barnes is a married mother of identical twin boys. She is currently a middle school academic dean and CEO and co-founder of Barnes Brothers Books, LLC, a publishing company with a focus on producing diverse books for all readers. Previously, she has served as an English teacher, English learners teacher, literacy coach, college instructor, and librarian. She is also an education writer and editor-in-chief for Indy K12, hosts the podcast Brazen Education, and moderates Indianapolis Recorder’s EdGems. In her spare time, she is an urban gardener and writes about her harvest to table journey at www.gardenershicole.com. Go to www.educatorbarnes.com to learn more.

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