Multicultural Educational Activities
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States according to Juneteenth.com. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
July: Independence Day
Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 240 years ago in 1776 on July 4 by the Continental Congress. It declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States
February: Black History Month
What started as a weekly recognition in 1925, African American History Month is now a monthlong recognition raising awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization.
January: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is best known for his campaigns to end racial segregation and for improving racial equality in the United States.
November: Native American Heritage Month
Celebrated each November, Native American Heritage Month is an effort to gain recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S.
October: LGBTQ+ History Month
In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. They selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as “Coming Out Day” (Oct. 11), occur that month.
September: Hispanic Heritage
Since 1968, under the President Lyndon Johnson, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
April: Asian and Pacific Islander Month
The United States celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month each May. A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
March: Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 and pays tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.