Students prepare for black history bowl

Trivia show raises awareness of African American contributions to society

Jessica Salisbury, News Editor

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To raise awareness about black history, Annandale hosts a Black History Bowl every year. This year the Black History Bowl will be on February 27 and will take place during an extended W4.

Black history month is a great way to introduce the input of blacks in history and society, especially in the classroom. In many American classrooms, black history is often underrepresented or condensed into slavery lessons. Black history should not begin and end with slavery.

The Black History Bowl offers a chance to encourage learning that incorporates and celebrates a deeper understanding of black history.

When talking about African Americans only in the context of their struggle from a young age, children will not understand all that Africans and African Americans have contributed into society. It ignores the humanity of our past and our significant influence on the future.

Trivia of the Black History Bowl falls into one of five categories: Painters, Athletes, The Supreme Court, Music and Space Science. The event was started in 2000 by former ESOL teacher Kerry Richardson and is currently coordinated by history teacher Kathlyn Berry.

Students need to recognize time before modern civilization, the works of African empires and political systems in Africa, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world. In doing so, students, black children in particular, will connect to the information being taught in the classroom, rather than being excluded from typical history.

There is a hunger for minority students to learn about their culture and their past, especially when history is often Eurocentric.

The questions range from black artists to musicians to athletes and more. The teams, one for each grade, have several preparation sessions to memorize and study black history prior to the bowl. These sessions are each with their respective team coach.

“I’m studying the packet I was given,” senior team member Saad Farooq said. “The packet has tons of biographies on different people, some who we didn’t learn about in history class.”

Every year the bowl is hosted by Technology Education teacher Philip Harris, who asks the teams a series of questions before announcing the winner at the end.

“I expect that the senior team will win,” Farooq said. “We’ve got the most experienced team.”

FCPS introduces the successes and talents of black Americans from a young age. As seen in the first grade curriculum, Martin Luther King and Arthur Ashe Jr. are among names like George Washington and Pocahontas as important figures in history.

FCPS also follows through on continuing to include black leaders in its higher level curriculum. However, teachers cannot use one or two black leaders and make them a token of their culture or identity. Instead of decontextualizing heroes or holidays, we should be connecting them to a larger social movement, and their effects on the future.

Seeing as AHS is so diverse, we are one of the few schools who tap into that and offer a black history bowl to spread awareness of the many contributions from the African American community.

Black history is American history, and it should be relevant to the entire classroom while connected to the present issues relevant today. February should be a way to go deeper into black history rather than the only time to acknowledge it.

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