Credit: DeLorean Cotton photo

Learning, and celebrating Black History has never been more important. Microsoft understands this fact and has committed to providing a platform for schools, students, and youth organizations for this year’s Black History Month celebration. Utilizing the world of technology, Microsoft will highlight and virtually transport 13 of the world’s top Black History Museum exhibits into every student’s home or classroom across North America. This partnership with museums, historical landmarks, cultural centers, athletes, and civic influencers worldwide will include a monthlong series of FREE immersive and interactive experiences for K-12 schools and the community to celebrate and learn. The Black History month journey will be available from Feb. 1-28, 2021.

Participating classrooms will learn about policies that impacted Black communities. They will see a presentation that will showcase Muhammad Ali’s fight against systemic racism at the Ali Center’s “Truth Be Told” exhibit, no matter where in the nation that student lives.

“Black History month is a time for us to emphasize the rich heritage and culture of Black people as well as spotlight historical events and figures in the Black community,” states Shy Averett, global sr. community program and events manager for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. “Black History Month is a time for people to come together and learn lessons from the past and apply them today and in the future.”

The students will also witness the struggle for life and liberty for all at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights while safely at home in front of their devices.

Reading sessions of 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 & NFL players for K-2nd graders. 

“We need to know our history so we can know what our future will look like,” states Haitian- American Cliff Avril, a ten-year NFL Vet, Superbowl champ with the Seattle Seahawks and Pro Bowler. “My Black history hero is Toussaint L’Ouverture, Haitian general, who led the Haitian revolution and led the entire island of Haitians to freedom.”

The program presented by Fort Monroe Authority showcases the significant impact that slavery had on the story of America and the stories of freedom seekers from the very beginning—from the Africans who were taken against their will from Angola and landing there at Point Comfort (now known as Fort Monroe) in Virginia, an English colony in 1619, to the courage of three enslaved men—James Townsend, Frank Baker and Sheppard Malloy. 

“Teaching U.S. 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. It’s exciting to show the significance of Fort Monroe virtually with students around the country. Fort Monroe is often referred to as Freedom’s Fortress. We will share with students about the beginning of slavery in the English colonies in 1619 to emancipation and ending slavery after the American Civil War and how it continues to impact and touch every aspect of this country’s history. It is extremely important to learn about our past—and share the truthful stories of beginnings in this country so that we can address the problems of race and inequities of today.”––Phyllis Terrell, Director of Communications, Fort Monroe Authority

Highlights of the impactful virtual activities lined-up for students.

· Walk with MLK virtually & 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 & liberty for all at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights

· Learn about policies that impacted Black communities & 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 & NFL players for K-2nd graders

· Fly through the eyes of WWII’s Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black military aviators in the U.S. 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 & walk through the Milton House’s secret passageways of the Underground Railroad

· Explore the legacy of the African Americans in the U.S. 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 & 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 changemakers 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 

For more information email inclusivecommunity@service.microsoft.com. Register athttps://aka.ms/BHM2021 to request a private workshop just classroom, school, group, or organization.