Black History Month (February) is highlighted and taught in schools across the country – but as parents we can take advantage of this nation-wide theme to include lessons on love, acceptance, patience and diversity. We can also introduce our children to African American role models and influence that perhaps aren’t emphasized in school. As much as it is important to tell the stories of Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks – there are so many others worthy of an honorable mention as well.

Consider these four amazing African Americans from our culture. They offer inspiration and positive influence with their diverse backgrounds, accomplishments and passions.

Ella Fitzgerald

Ms. Fitzgerald was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also awarded with 13 Grammies. Click below for a taste of Ella’s jazzy magic. Here’s the official website for fun facts and bio:

Fredrick Douglas

Mr. Douglas was a former slave, an escaped slave who’s life’s work was devoted to human rights and the abolitionist movement.  He led the first all black regiment, 54 MA Infantry, was an published in 1845, and public speaker for anti-slavery.  There’s so much more to his bravery and story.  Watch the clip below to learn more or visit

Lonnie Johnson

Mr. Johnson invented the Super Soaker.  He was influenced by another famous and important scientist and inventor, George Washington Carver.  Mr. Johnson’s story is interesting for children because of his curiosity to learn how things worked and interest in toys – his father taught him to make his own toys.  Here’s more on Lonnie Johnson’s career as an inventor:  Click here for a coloring sheet on Lonnie Johnson and other inventors.

Mae Jemison

This woman has almost done it all… a doctor, a dancer and an orbit into space.  Dr.  Mae Jemison is  former NASA astronaut and in 1992 she was part of the crew to go into orbit on Space Shuttle Endeavor. She’s held a television career and remains a large inspiration for our young generation and parents alike.  Here’s a quick bio on the never-bored, truly inspiring Dr. Jemison.

And here’s another well worth the 26 minutes… she really touches on the ways parents can influence and encourage children. She says creativity and exploration are key. “When we ask how do we get our children to find that – it’s really we have to keep them from losing it.” She speaks about ways to foster the inner scientist in our children. Attached here is an interactive coloring page for your children to enjoy and here is an informative print out coloring sheet.

Lastly check out this cool online Black History Quiz.  Enjoy celebrating diversity and some of the most amazing contributors to humanity.