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Quatr.us Study Guides Projects and Articles for late February:
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: African Americans like Denmark Vesey kept trying to free enslaved people throughout the 1800s, and finally the Civil War ended slavery in the United States in 1865. African-Americans were certainly glad to be free. But white people and the United States government continued to use racist laws and illegal activities to keep most African-Americans very poor and make them work very hard.
Many African-Americans became share-croppers on the cotton farms where they had once been slaves. Others moved north to work in factories. But most African-Americans were illegally stopped from voting, and legally stopped from going to good schools and getting good jobs.
But there is still a lot of racism hurting African-American citizens in the United States and in other countries like Brazil. Most black kids still go to worse schools than white kids. Most black adults still work harder, lower-paying jobs. The government still treats white people better than African-Americans. That fight is now in the hands of Black Lives Matter – and you can help them.
WINTER OLYMPICS: If you’re watching the Olympic Games this week, check out our articles about the ancient Greek Olympic Games – the opening ceremonies, the Olympic races themselves, and how to hold your own Olympic Games in the playground.
PRESIDENTS’ DAY: Monday’s holiday celebrates the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We remember Lincoln for freeing the African-Americans working as slaves, but we should also remember George Washington. As the first president of the United States, he got democracy off the ground by insisting on stepping down at the end of his term and holding elections, instead of making himself President for Life, or King, as many people wanted him to do.
This week in history:
CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION: This is a big week for early Christianity! On February 23, 303 AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian began his Great Persecution of the Christians. Hundreds were arrested, and many were sent to do hard labor in the mines. A few were killed in the amphitheaters. This persecution lasted for ten years, until Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD. Then on February 19, 356, Constantius II, the son of the first Christian emperor Constantine, ordered all pagan temples in the Roman Empire to close. (Find out more about the Roman gods and the imperial cult, and about the battle between Arian Christians (which Constantius was) and Catholics.) Marking the other end of this battle, on February 27, 380 AD, the Roman emperor Theodosius made it illegal for anybody not to be a Christian (with an exception for the Jews).
WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK: Play the earth-goes-around-the-sun game
History Gifts – what to get with your Amazon gift card!
For Black History Month, get a poster of Black inventors or one of notable African-Americans. Get a Black Lives Matter t-shirt. Check out Angela Davis’ Freedom is a Constant Struggle, or Ta Nehesi Coates’ thought-provoking Between the World and Me. Or read our favorite: how Rosa Parks and Jo Ann Robinson started the Montgomery Bus Boycott in At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power (2011).
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New discoveries this week:
EARLY EUROPEANS WERE BLACK: It’s not really news, because it’s been reported before, but we still find it hard to believe. This week yet another DNA analysis showed that Cheddar Man, who lived in Britain about 8000 BC, had dark skin, curly dark hair, and blue eyes. Read more here about the early people of Europe and their art.
Seasonal foods of the week:
FISH: During the Christian season of Lent leading up to Easter, Christians in the Middle Ages were not supposed to eat beef or pork, so they ate a lot of fish. One fish recipe to try this week is cioppino, a tomato and shellfish stew. Another is fried oatmeal cakes with sour cream and smoked salmon on top. For something simpler, try broiled trout with spinach, or sole with chive oil, or for something more complicated, try making your own gefilte fish or sushi at home (or buy it in a store!).