Microsoft To Empower Students and Communities

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( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Microsoft and Fort Monroe Authority Are Bringing an in-Depth Lesson on Black History To Homes All Across America

ENSPIRE Contributor: Michelle Bolden

This February, Microsoft is teaming with Fort Monroe Authority to bring a free, immersive, and interactive experience of Black history to K-12 schools and the community. Students all over North America will have virtual access to 13 of the world’s top Black History Museum exhibits from the comfort of their own home. 

This unique and exciting program offers an in-depth look at a side of American history that is often unsung. Grade school curriculum across the US is notorious for teaching a distorted view of Black history and consequently American history. Students will be able to explore not just slavery but other aspects of Black history as well. The curriculum shows that just as America was a country built on slave labor, American history was built on the backs of Black history. In providing an all-encompassing lesson of our past, Fort Monroe Authority and Microsoft provide students with the lens to understand today’s issues with racism and discrimination.

Students will have the opportunity to learn about systematic racism, various policies that impacted the Black community, historical events and figures in Black history, the heritage and culture of the Black diaspora, and our struggle for life and liberty. 

Highlights of the impactful virtual activities lined up for students include:

  • Walk with MLK virtually and fight for civil rights in the Selma-to-Montgomery Marches of 1965
  • Step back into the Civil Rights Era to witness the struggle for life and liberty for all at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • Learn about policies that impacted Black communities and Muhammad Ali’s fight against systemic racism at the Ali Center’s “Truth Be Told” exhibit
  • Hear inspirational children’s stories about Black history like Hidden Figures and Let the Children March, with books read aloud by some of our favorite NBA and NFL players for K-2nd graders
  • Fly through the eyes of WWII’s Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black military aviators in the US Army Air Corps at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
  • Hit a home run with Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
  • Retrace Slavery from Enslavement to Emancipation—Ft. Monroe, Whitney Plantation, and Milton House—Tour Fort Monroe where the first Africans entered the country, explore the Whitney Plantation, and see how slaves lived and walk through the Milton House’s secret passageways of the Underground Railroad
  • Explore the legacy of the African Americans in the US military at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
  • Travel back in time with a fireside chat with Freedom Rider Hezekiah Watkins to protest social injustice and racial inequality and tour the Freedom Rides Museum
  • Take a virtual scavenger hunt through George Washington Carver’s most noted inventions at the Carver Museum
  • Celebrate today’s groundbreaking African American change makers who are leading the world right now at Microsoft’s Current Day Black History Museum
  • Listen to and learn about the origins of Black music and music of the Civil Rights Movement with the GRAMMY Museum

Fort Monroe Authority’s Director of Communications Phyllis Terrell explains that his experience is so important for students across the country stating, “Teaching US history is incomplete if we don’t include Black history. During every time period in the creation and development of this country, Africans and African Americans were a part of this history. We are so grateful to be included in the Black History Month Virtual Experience.” This Black history virtual experience will be available from February 1-28, 2021. Register at https://aka.ms/BHM2021. You can also request a private workshop for your classroom, school, group, or organization at: https://aka.ms/BookReadingsK2.

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