Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Celebrating Black History Month: Because of Them We Can

Our community celebrates Black History Month each year, through the books we read together, the stories we tell, the leaders we honor. This year, I've been particularly moved by a set of posters called Because Of Them We Can.

Eunique Jones Gibson began this project as a way to "share our rich history and promising future through images that would refute stereotypes and build the esteem of our children." This project is much more than dressing kids up as historical figures. It's providing a way for kids to see what they themselves can do, who they can become.

I adore this video about Zora Neal Hurston. Library love. Book love. Imagination.

This video captures exactly the power behind these images. I often think about books as being "Windows and Mirrors" -- letting us see through to other worlds, as well as see images of ourselves reflected in them. The same can be said for historical figures. At times, they let us see into other worlds, but at other times they let us envision what we ourselves might do.

I plan on ordering several of these for our school library. What a fantastic way to share this vision with my students. Thank you, Eunique Jones Gibson, for your vision, talents and photographs. I'm reminded of one of the quotes you share:
"Vision without action is just a dream; action without vision is just something to do. But vision with action can change the world." - Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd
Gibson has combined her vision with action. She knows that that images can be a powerful statement about the way we see ourselves, but then she's taken the action to create this stunning project.

Because Of Them, We Can is a great project to share with children and teachers. I'd love to hear what they think of these images and this vision.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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