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3/2/16- Spotlight 2: What have Islamic Schools Been Doing for Black History Month?

Celebrations of Black History Month were plenty during the month of February at the MCC Academy (MCCA) campuses on Chicago’s north side. At both campuses, in Morton Grove and Skokie, students learned about Black History in America and how the struggles of African-Americans helped pave the way for Muslim-American rights, and the rights of other minorities in the United States.

Third-graders wrote about their thoughts on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s achievements. They also watched Brainpop videos on Harriet Tubman and George Washington Carver, and then studied the lives of these individuals and learned about slavery and the ensuing struggle for freedom and equal rights. Mrs. Rashida Patel, one of the third-grade teachers, shared that her students really grappled with trying to understand why anyone would ever be treated so unfairly simply because of the color of their skin. These lessons really prompted a lot of beneficial discussions about a significant part of American history.

Kindergarteners learned about the three ways Martin Luther King, Jr. brought about peace: by letter-writing, marching and giving speeches. They learned about unfair laws that the civil rights movement worked to change and got a chance to write about dreams that they, themselves, have to help change the world.  

All throughout February at the Morton Grove campus,  a Middle School student delivered a short presentation on an influential individual relating to Black History at the morning assembly, detailing the person’s legacy and how they helped impact the world. Students presented on fascinating figures such as Malcolm X, , Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

MCCA Librarian Mrs. Donelle Bergeson peppered the library display shelves with books relating to Black History Month, including biographies of both prominent and lesser known Black Americans who have made contributions to our country. Her students colored pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King and other important African-American historical figures, who contributed to the abolishment of slavery, and then hung them up throughout the space. Her early childhood students read stories relating to friendship, acceptance, and equality for all people.

Teachers and staff members at the Skokie Campus joined together in a “Diversity Potluck Lunch” to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They made dishes that were representative of the varied cultures present in America and then, in the spirit of MLK’s famous “I have a Dream” speech, some shared their own “Dreams”.

MCC Academy staff members really brought Black history to life for students, teaching them important lessons about the price of freedom, acceptance and equality.

For the principal and teachers of Furqaan Academy, they took this chance to incorporate African American history into their lessons and activities in the hopes that students will be able to learn from African American’s struggles and success while overcoming discrimination. Each morning at assembly, a speech from either a teacher or student relating to Black History and how it related to the teachings of Islam, was presented. The subjects included: racism, historical figures, and what we as Muslims can learn from Black History. For Social Studies class, the students researched important figures in Black History. Some students created timelines while others wrote reports. The high school students created beautiful posters and gave presentations to both their class and the school. Classes also read books and watched movies to get a better understanding of the history of racism against African Americans in America.