Black History Month: Teachers share stories behind incredible doors (2024)

All over the country, classroom teachers are decorating their doors with incredible works of art celebrating Black History Month. We asked four teachers from different schools and grade levels to share with "Good Morning America" the stories and inspiration behind their incredible doors that are truly works of art.

Chanique Davis, an art teacher for grades K-5 at Lake Alfred Elementary in Lake Alfred Florida. She is also an independent artist.

Black History Month: Teachers share stories behind incredible doors (1)

"I wanted to create my door with locs," Davis told "Good Morning America," using a common synonym for dreadlocks. "The reason I was inspired to do this is because locs is a hairstyle that is not welcomed in corporate spaces. I wanted to encourage our children who have locs to let them know that this style is beautiful and its hair just like any other style and should be welcomed and accepted. I wanted to teach them appreciation for the beauty of diversity even in hairstyles."

"Many of the Black History Month doors that are created have the Afro hairstyle celebrating the natural hair movement," she told "GMA". "I wanted to celebrate differently by appreciating the loc style which is still natural hair. The yarn wrapped around some of the locs is a stylistic addition that most African American girls add to the hair and the gold clips are as well. Also widely known in the black culture is "baby hair" taking the edges of the hair and combing it out. I wanted to acknowledge and appreciate these little, subtle things that are so particular to black hair and black culture."

"The kids are astounded," she continued. "They are always in awe every time they walk up to the door. It's beautiful to see children of different nationalities appreciate the style of hair that the door has. I believe it's training them in tolerance and acceptance of diversity. They love it!"

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Marcia N. Waller is a Georgia Network For Educational and Therapeutic Support teacher for ages 11-14 at Miller Fine Arts Magnet Middle School in Macon, Ga. She is a published author, a mom and is pursuing a Masters degree in teaching.

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"My source of inspiration for my door was that not only is it Black History Month but my culture is so rich with the accomplishments of African Americans past and present," she told "GMA". "I want my students to always know that they can do anything they set their minds to and accomplish great things as well. I don't like to say that the sky is the limit because when you reach the sky you'll stop. It's what's beyond the sky that I want them to strive for."

"We all are a part of history. I also want them to know that Black History happens every day and not just in February, so my door is going to stay up all year long. Oh and it looks pretty cool too! The students throughout the school were so blown away by the 3D, Afro puffs and the Dashiki."

Anecia White teaches at Harvest Preparatory School located in North Minneapolis, MN. I teach 4th grade and have a class size of 25 of which every student is African American.

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"I attended Harvest Prep as a child and it has been my honor to be able to give back to the community [which] has given me so much," she told "GMA".

"My source of inspiration for the door was every student in my classroom. They inspire me to be a better teacher every day, and I hope to inspire them to continue to learn about themselves."

"I try to instill in my students that black history should never be narrowed down to just one month within the year, but we should celebrate black history year round. That is why I began decorating my door before Black History Month, and I plan to keep the door up well after this month is over."

"Because Harvest Prep has given so much to my class and I, we wanted to give back a little thanks. Each child made a silhouette of their face, and on the inside has a description of why they LOVE being black, and why they LOVE Harvest Prep. Also, Harvest Prep is centered around the principals of Kwanzaa and our class had the principal of “Kuumba” (Creativity). As a class we decided decorating our door would be the best way to show our creativity. We had all hands on deck to get the job done, exemplifying our “Umoja” (Unity) as we worked."

Patrice Bertotto teaches English Language Arts to 7th and 8th grade at James R. Ludlow Elementary School in the School District of Philadelphia. She has been a teacher for 21 years.

Black History Month: Teachers share stories behind incredible doors (4)

Black History Month: Teachers share stories behind incredible doors (5)

"I don't have a homeroom, so I asked my grade partner if I could decorate his door with the 8th grade during my ELA period and I worked on my door with 7th grade during their period with me," she said, referring to English language arts by it's common acronym. "We do have a Black History Month door decorating contest in our school and we each select a person to design our door about."

"The 8th grade class is 17 students, so when I first presented the idea to them, I told them the jobs we needed to get it completed and they went from there," she said. "I wanted to highlight their talents. Two girls worked on the face. Three girls focused putting the hair up on the door, while there was an assembly line of cutting and stapling the paper loops."

"One girl focused on the dress," Bertotto continued. "Many printed and cut out all of those pictures. Others did research about Diana's life and career. I maybe touched the door two or three times during the process where I needed to help here or there with taping something down, attaching something high. This was all them. I did select the picture of Diana that I wanted to depict, but other than's their design."

"Aside from the actual design, Diana Ross is so inspirational," she said. "She is a pioneer. In my opinion, she's not often recognized for her contributions in creating a greater acceptance of American black culture during the time of the civil rights movement. Her music is incredible and I knew that my students would connect with her. They all recognized a ton of her music once we started playing it and they decided that 'I'm Coming Out' is the greatest line dance song of all time."

"[The kids] are really proud because they put so much hard work and effort into it. They mentioned that it was really frustrating at times and really had to trust each other. It took them about 3 days to finish it -- approximately 6-7 hours. Many hands. I'm so proud of them."

Black History Month: Teachers share stories behind incredible doors (2024)


Black History Month: Teachers share stories behind incredible doors? ›

Chanique Davis is a teacher in Lake Alfred, Florida, who decorated her classroom door for Black History Month. "I wanted to create my door with locs," Davis told "Good Morning America," using a common synonym for dreadlocks.

What is the theme for Black History Month 2024? ›

Each year, Black History Month brings another opportunity to discover contributions that enrich our nation. The 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the creativity, resilience and innovation from a culture that has uplifted spirits and soothed souls in countless ways across centuries.

How do you honor Black History Month in the classroom? ›

Celebrate: Highlight achievements and contributions, including pre-colonial history and profiles of contemporary figures your students will recognize from politics, education, pop culture, sports, or other areas. While historicizing is important, avoid focusing solely on slavery and Jim Crow.

Which president officially recognized Black History Month? ›

In 1976 President Gerald Ford became the first leader of the United States of America to officially recognize Black History Month. Since being recognized as an official heritage month, Black History Month has been assigned a theme for each year of its celebration.

How did February get to be Black History Month? ›

Why is Black History Month in February? Woodson chose February for Negro History Week because it had the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, and Douglass, a former slave who did not know his exact birthday, celebrated his on Feb.

What is the theme for Black History Month 2025? ›

The theme, “African Americans and Labor,” intends to encourage broad reflections on intersections between Black people's work and their workplaces in all their iterations and key moments, themes, and events in Black history and culture across time and space and throughout the U.S., Africa, and the Diaspora.

What happened on February 22 in Black history? ›

On this day February 22nd in 1989, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince won the first rap Grammy for their single “Parents Just Don't Understand.” “Parents Just Don't Understand” is the second single from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's second studio album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper.

How do you respectfully acknowledge Black History Month? ›

How to Celebrate Black History Month at Work
  1. Engage Your Team in a Fun and Inspiring Experiences. ...
  2. Honor Black Musicians and Performers in the Music Evolution Event. ...
  3. Create a Black History Month Playlist. ...
  4. Learn from a Local Black Historian or Speaker. ...
  5. Explore Your Local Black History Museum.

How to teach Black History Month as a white teacher? ›

Be sure to allow students an opportunity for discussion and reflection. Shy away from controversial, ambiguous, or unresolved issues. Share the real-life experiences about racial realities in developmentally appropriate ways. Think that you can't talk about black history because you're a white educator.

How do you celebrate Black history in the classroom? ›

Black History Month Activities for Kids
  1. Write About Famous Quotes From Black Americans. ...
  2. Set Up a Door Decorating Contest. ...
  3. Study the Civil Rights Movement & Segregation. ...
  4. Take Virtual Field Trips. ...
  5. Get to Know Local Black Americans. ...
  6. Read Books With Black Protagonists. ...
  7. Create Timelines of Important Moments in Black History.
Feb 10, 2023

What happened on February 1st in black history? ›

February 1, 1865 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery in the United States. February 1 is known as National Freedom Day in its honor. February 3, 1870 The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified.

Does Africa celebrate Black History Month? ›

On the African continent, however, it is a different story. Only a handful of events are held in commemoration of Black History Month, mainly at U.S. Embassies or study centers at higher learning institutions in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, all of which are predominantly English-speaking.

Who was the 1st Black person born in the 13 colonies? ›

William Tucker (1624- ?)

William Tucker was the first person of African ancestry born in the 13 British Colonies. His birth symbolized the beginnings of a distinct African American identity along the eastern coast of what would eventually become the United States.

Who is the father of Black History Month? ›

Carter G. Woodson was a scholar whose dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Black History Month, marked every February since 1976.

What famous Black person was born in February? ›

Every February, the U.S. honors the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape the nation. February was chosen primarily because the second week of the month coincides with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

What is the theme for this years Black History Month? ›

Black History Month Theme for 2024

This year's Black History Month has the theme "African Americans and the Arts." The ASALH shares, "African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences.

What is the theme for this year's Black History Month? ›

This year, the Black History Month theme is “African Americans and the Arts,” which explores the key influence African American have had in the fields of music, film, fashion, visual and performing arts, folklore, literature, language, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, according to History.

What is the theme of 2024 black history based on African Americans and the Arts? ›

This year's theme highlights African Americans and the arts. From visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, music and film, Black artists have used their creative outlets to preserve and share their history and instill empowerment in their communities.

Is February Black History Month 2024? ›

Although the shortest month of the year, February was intentionally selected because of the birthdays of American President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12th) and American abolitionist Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14th). The 2024 national theme for Black History Month is African Americans and the Arts.


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