Posted on November 11th 2020
Mansa Musa comes to Harris Academy Peckham
Black History Month is an important month in HAP’s calendar. The History Department at HAP heard the message about the need for further inclusion of black history in the curriculum and made a conscious effort during Black History Month 2020 to draw attention to the breadth and depth of black history, not just here in the UK but across the world.
Across KS3, we added a lesson into the schemes of work for Year 7, 8 and 9 focused around Mansa Musa – arguably the richest man to have ever lived – and how he related to the topics of medieval monarchy, medieval Islamic civilisations and civil rights in the modern era.
It was amazing to be able to bring in this incredible historical figure to our lessons to complement and deepen our students' knowledge of the topics they were studying. “It was interesting to learn about how Mansa Musa gave to other people that didn’t have that much,” said Aylin, Year 7. “It was interesting to learn about him.”
It was also a dream come true to refer to Beyoncé in the Year 9 lessons when looking at Jay Z’s reference to Mansa Musa in the song ‘Mood 4Eva’ from his album, The Gift, and how Mansa Musa is an important icon when considering black excellence.
Black History Month posters around the school were designed to pique students interest in reading further on black history.
Pique students interest
We didn’t stop there! Despite KS4 not having any explicit black history in their GCSE specifications, we still provided students with a booklet that gave them some information and further reading on black history relating to Black Tudors, African contributions to medicine throughout time and the experiences of Black people in Nazi Germany.
Students were also exposed to posters displayed around the school to pique their interest in reading further on black history, especially from academics such as Miranda Kauffman, Stephen Bourne, Akala and David Olusoga. Students were fascinated to discover such a broad range of topics that link to black history from WW1 all the way to ancient African kingdoms. It definitely developed our students LEAP skills around enquiry.
Whilst we had a wonderful Black History Month in the History Department at HAP, we’re not stopping there. We are looking at other ways we can broaden and expose our students to black history both within our classrooms and outside of them, too.