From the time I was a little girl I was aware that while children of all colors lived and went to school together in Canada where I lived, this was not always the case in the country we often visited, the U.S.A.
I can remember asking my mom why the elderly lady had to sit all the way back with her shopping bags when it would have been so much easier for me to do with my six-year-old’s legs. I was told to shhh, she would explain it to me later. And try to explain she did, but it was still tough for me to understand. I grew up knowing that God loves everyone so why were some folks treated differently.
One of the benefits of homeschooling for us is that we can travel and expose our young student to historic places and help him to develop a better understanding of what has gone on in the past so when Black History Month comes up, we try to plan some special visits plus go through photos and memories of previous spots where we have learned about this history.
One of our favorite visits was to the Jean Lafitte National Park French Quarter Visitor Center. Here we not only learned about the history of the area but also about the landmark decision in 1896 on Plessy v. Ferguson. This decision by the U.S. Supreme Court created the “separate but equal” doctrine that basically legalized segregation under certain circumstance.
Another National Park spot we visited was Vicksberg National Battlefield where we learned about the Bureau of Colored Troops and the sacrifices that both escaped slaves and free black men made to the war effort.
We have traveled through areas of plantations and seen slave cabins and learned about what life was like for those who toiled in the fields for their masters. We also learned about heroes like Harriett Tubman and Frederick Douglas who rescued those souls through the Underground Railroad.
There is also much to learn about the Underground Railroad in Canada where you can visit some of the stations that have turned into museums. If you are in Ontario, you will find at least five locations.
Moving further into the future, we’ve made road trips along the United States Civil Rights Trail. This one is a bit much to do on one trip so best to break it up into smaller regional trips if you can. There is much to see and learn and nice to see it all pulled together. The website is terrific with lots of information and background for your studies.
During our visit to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, we heard the story of Viola Desmond, the businesswoman who challenged segregation in a movie theatre in Nova Scotia by refusing to leave her seat in the white-only section. She was actually convicted of a tax violation since the ticket she purchased was one cent less than the one for the section she sat in. Viola was recently honored by being placed on the Canadian ten-dollar bill. A great way to help keep her memory alive for future generations.
Stories like this are fascinating for kids and help keep them interested in learning about history.
Kimberley Linkletter – After a 20-plus year career in politics and government, my life took a turn and I became a homeschooling gramma to our energetic and adventurous grandson EJ. There is nothing we like better than loading up our car and hitting the road to see what we can see. As my girls have always said, “Mom says everywhere is on the way to somewhere,” so we love to take detours along our route. You find some of the best places that way!
We keep busy reviewing homeschool products, visiting small town (and not so small town) diners and cafes, museums, National Parks, hotels, and campgrounds.
EJ and I (Miss Kimmy to my friends) love to share our adventures with you here on Vintage Blue Suitcase.