Different Process, Same Goal

How Black History Is Taught Across Benjamin Divisions


The Diversity Council has elaborate plans for the Upper School’s celebration of Black History Month.

Matt Marasco, Editor-in-Chief

During the month of February, the United States celebrates Black History Month. At Benjamin, the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools all celebrate the month and bring attention to the events that shaped African American History in the United States.

The Upper School holds many events throughout the month organized by the Diversity Council including an all-school assembly and many other opportunities to be educated about Black history. These events include advisory jeopardy, a black college exposition at the Miami Doubletree Hilton Convention Center, and a Black History assembly. The assembly will feature the Dazzlers’ performance and a special guest speaker highlighting African American accomplishments. 

Math teacher and Diversity Council Advisor, Ms. Rachelle Mays believes it is important to celebrate Black History every day and most importantly learn about all the successes of African Americans in United States history rather than just a few pages in a history textbook.

“I feel that it is important in this environment to continue to celebrate African American history and the success and accomplishments that African American men and women have contributed to our country. I feel as if it should not only be a couple of pages in the history book where you learn about slavery, civil rights, and then Martin Luther King. There is so much more for everyone to learn, ” said Ms. Mays.

Along with the Diversity Council, the Social Studies Department also teaches Black history throughout the year and during February.

“A variety of our Upper School history classes teach about the stories and highlights of African American history on the world. It’s good to highlight different histories throughout the curriculum,” said the Social Studies Department Chair Ms. Sara Misselhorn.

In Middle School, the month started off with the help of the Kijana Heroes poster set. The posters include African American men and women who have set an example through their 

change-making decisions. These posters are displayed around the Middle School campus and will aid the history teachers in their lessons about each individual.

The Middle School Social Studies Department Chair Mrs. Chrissie Ferguson believes that taking time to celebrate the month is her most important goal for the student body.

It has been my goal this year, as the Middle School Social Studies Department Chair, to create more awareness of monthly observations and celebrations. As a school community, we utilize assembly time to hear special speakers and to celebrate, remember and honor those inspiring leaders who have gone before us and those who live among us today,” said Mrs. Ferguson. “It is important to take the time out of our busy schedules to celebrate and honor those who have made great contributions to our community and our nation.”

In addition to the posters, the Middle School is also hosting a guest speaker who will have an interactive lesson that will share the accomplishments of Black men and women throughout the history of the United States. Also, the Art Department has organized a unit making album covers based on Black musicians and vocalists.

The Lower School features lessons on Black History throughout the grade levels which encompass students in an introduction to the achievements made by African Americans. 

In the fifth grade, they will be visited by Audrey Andes who wrote the book The Rabbi and the Reverend. The book speaks to the relationship between Dr. Martin Luther King and his associates, especially Rabbi Joachim Prinz.

Lower School Academic Dean Mrs. LeAnne Sampson believes that teaching young students Black history is crucial to the educational system.

Black history is part of American history. Black history is essential for our students to explore so that they have a full appreciation of American history,” said Mrs. Sampson.

As it is important to highlight Black History during the month of February, the Lower school, Middle school, and Upper school make it a point of emphasis to educate their respective student bodies.