Black History Month Makes Its Mark

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Jannuzzi.

Starting in 1976 with Gerald Ford, each president has named the month of February Black History Month. The purpose of this month is to acknowledge the lives, struggles and achievements of African Americans.The month of February was chosen for this recognition because it aligns with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas.

The importance of Black History Month is recognized by Corona and integrated into the school curriculum.

History teacher Cheryl Jannuzzi said, “Due to the pandemic- our resources are being put into a Schoology folder in which Ms. Wiley and I continue to add to. We want to offer a variety of resources that help celebrate the African American experience.”

Tempe Union High School District as a whole has made a series of virtual meetings through Mesa and Chandler Community College called “Together We Can End Racism.” These meetings lasted through the month of February with a range of topics from an interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter to discussions on anti-racism with Ibram X Kendi.

Recently, Corona began offering a course called “African American History” under course number SST405 which teaches about the history of people of African descent on a deeper level than what is taught in standard history classes. The course covers history from the middle passage to the civil rights movement to modern day.

“Having a class dedicated to African American history allows us to really delve deeper into the greatness of the African American experiences, as well as examining the troubling issues that continue to exist.  The first step in making changes is to be informed. So, through this class we want to start that dialogue,” Jannuzzi said.

This class has become increasingly popular since its introduction at Corona and continues to grow.

Nevertheless, it is still important that students, teachers and parents alike educate themselves on black history beyond just Black History Month.

“The amazing resources out there for us to learn from are endless.  I think that a great place to start is looking at the National Museum of African American History’s website.  Visiting that museum was life-changing for me,” Jannuzzi said. “I have also found that there are many powerful podcasts, virtual tours, and captivating interviews that different news agencies have created this year to celebrate Black History Month.”