Throughout February, Girl Scouts joins the rest of the nation in celebrating Black History Month. This is an opportunity to recognize perseverance and determination in the face of extreme adversity and oppression. In as much as it is a national celebration, Black History Month is also an opportunity to reflect on our own Girl Scout history, which celebrates 101 years this year.
Girl Scouts can proudly say we have a long history of inclusion and
diversity. Our first troop for African American girls was formed in
1917, decades before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. By the
1950s, GSUSA began a national effort to desegregate all Girl Scout
troops. Even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described Girl Scouts as “a
force for desegregation.”
Black History Month gives us the opportunity to reflect on all the
“firsts” accomplished by African American women. For example, in 1921,
Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to hold an
international pilot’s license. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first
African American actor to win an Oscar. And Althea Gibson became the
first African American to win both Wimbledon and the U.S. National
Tennis Championships (now the U.S. Open) in 1957.
In keeping with our goal of creating the leaders of tomorrow, in this 101st anniversary year we would like to honor the noble leadership of African-American women within the Girl Scout Movement. From our first African-American troop to the first African-American GSUSA President, Dr. Gloria D. Scott, the month of February is a time for us to honor these amazing women and their continued contribution to our mission of creating girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.
Black History Month Links:
Freedom Sisters Exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis)
Black History Month Activities
Black History Month Crafts for Kids
Black History Month Teacher Resources
Black History Month Printables and Activities
Black History Month Printables