Hedreich Nichols

February 2022


This week is part two of the SmallBites Black History series. It could aptly called “Beyond the Struggle”. When I think of June and Pride celebrations, there is so much joy. Yes, there is talk of Stonewall and the fight for human rights, but there is a joy that we are missing in February. I believe that comes from the focus on our civil struggle and a lack of knowledge about the many achievements of people from the African diaspora in America.

Let Your Students Do the Sleuthing

I invite everyone to take time, this month especially, to celebrate all that Black Americans have accomplished in the face of insurmountable odds. Did you know that most enslaved people were freed with no education, no restitution and no path to transition from enslavement to freedman in a hostile environment? And yet, there have been notable achievements in every sector, achievements that are not widely known. Since this month is dedicated to Black History, allow your students to research Black business owners, scientists, writers, inventors, choreographers, educators, politicians, generals, etc. Discuss who they find and allow your students to take the lead. I’m hoping that will be acceptable even in today’s climate.  There is so much to celebrate and Black achievement in the US is so much deeper than Civil Rights and Soul food.

Who Wants to Join Me??

If you do find someone especially interesting to celebrate, I’d love to interview one or two Black History super sleuths this month for SmallBites. Message me at 5smallbites@bluewin.ch.

You can read more about Bronzeville in one of 3 of my social justice titles for Cherry Lake Publishing, From Black Wall Street to Allensworth

You can read more about the humanitarian crisis of emancipation from Professor Downs’ book, Sick From Freedom.

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Say It Loud

With book bans sweeping the country, I felt the need to record some of the words I’ve written, just in case. Cherry Lake publishing has released a phenomenal Black Achievement series, designed by Kelissa Wing, just in time for Black History Month. I am honored to have written 3 titles, one of which I’ll preview here. 

More Than ‘Black Girl Magic’

In this episode, you’ll hear about Dr. Tai-Danae Bradley who looks more like a girl-next-door Instagram model than any mathematician I was ever introduced to in school. Reading her blog and watching her Youtube videos was actually interesting for me–a confirmed anti-mather! The greatest thing about introducing living (Black) American heroes is that your students can see themselves reflected in the here and now. These are people your students can follow on Twitter and Instagram, which makes their achievements feel much more relevant than our normal content connections to old dead people. Not that old dead people aren’t great, but who wants to grow up to be dead and then famous? Certainly not your students who see instafame on the regular. 

I’ll be previewing other lesser known Black History heroes in the coming weeks, but I hope you’ll do some research on your own with your students to discover other American stories beyond Martin and Rosa. I hope also, that you will consider investing in books that highlight those stories. As you consider what choices you make for your class library and how much say the state has in those choices, make sure you invest in literature you feel is valuable. And as always, remember to vote your conscience, not only in national but also upcoming local elections. Our democracy depends on it. 

Pre-order the Black Achievement books here or order bulk copies here.

Read more about US democracy rankings and “backsliding” here.

Book SmallBites coaching or professional development here.

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