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Black history who’s who

Put your detective hat on and learn about famous black people through history.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Device with access to the internet

Before you begin

  • This is a great activity to run during an online session. Check out the advice on using Zoom and other popular digital platforms and the guidance on being safe online.
  • Read through the profiles of famous and influential black people so you can help answer any questions.
  • If you want some extra support or information on discussing Black History Month with young people, take a look at the Scouts Black History Month information or this article about discussing race and racism with young people.

Who’s who

  1. Everyone should choose someone from the list of 16 famous black people from below.
  1. Once everyone has chosen their famous person, they should go and do some more research on them. Groups should aim to add at least one more fact to their profile – if they can find more, that’s even better.
  1. Everyone should come back together as a group and choose one person or group to go first.
  2. Everyone else should take it in turns to ask ‘yes or no’ questions about the first group’s person to try and guess who they are. Groups can only ask one question at a time and they can’t guess on the same turn they have asked a question.
  1. Once a team’s person has been guessed, they should read out their profile and any extra facts they learned about them.
  1. The next group should answer questions about their person until everyone has had their turn.

Reflection

This activity was about understanding parts of history that aren’t always talked about. It’s important to talk about these parts of history to understand society today. What did people learn? People may have learned about people they didn’t know about, or they may have learned something new about the successes of black people and the contributions to Britain, regardless of the struggles they have faced (and continue to face today). Part of being a Scout is being an active citizen and making a positive difference in the world. Knowing about people’s history and the challenges and inequities they face today can help us to support other people and see the world from their perspective.

Why are these people famous or influential? People could think about how the reasons are different – some people were strong political activists while others tackled racism or achieved amazing things in sports or the arts. Black History Month is about celebrating and understanding the diverse history and achievements of black people across all areas of society.

This activity may also encourage conversations around fairness and people coming together to reject racism. More information on how to hold these conversations can be found in the Black History Month resources. These discussions are important throughout the year, not just in Black History Month. Think about how you could keep the conversation going – could you bring news articles or stories to future sessions and use them to spark further discussions? 

Safety

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.