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Did You Know?

Spotlight on February: Black History Month

Did you know that during colonial times, many U.S. colonies enforced laws forbidding slaves to learn to read and write? This included making it a crime for others to teach slaves the valuable foundational skills that allowed them to become independent of their white slave owners.

The following excerpt is from the South Carolina Act of 1740:

“Whereas, the having slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconveniences; Be it enacted, that all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach or cause any slave or slaves to be taught to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe, in any manner of writing whatsoever, hereafter taught to write, every such person or persons shall, for every such offense, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.”

This slice of history highlights the significance of literacy. Acquiring literacy skills remains just as, if not more, important today. Students need foundational literacy skills, such as handwriting, to ensure success academically and in life.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/education/docs1.html

To learn more about slavery and the path to freedom, click here.

Looking for ideas to celebrate Black History Month in your classroom? Here are some resources to get you started.

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