Teachers bring inspiring African American stories to life during Black History Month

At Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, students wait to see what Teidra Everett will teach them next. 

Every day during the month of February, Everett dresses up as an essential figure in Black history. 

"They come to the door and they are like, 'Ms. Everett, why are you wearing a hat?' or 'What you are wearing? or 'Who are you today,?'" Everett explained. "I wanted to give my kids a live experience and not always use the figures that are in textbooks, because there’s many trailblazers that aren’t often recognized for their hard work that they’ve done."

Teacher Teidra Everett dresses as inspiring African Americans to bring Black History Month to life for her students

The second-grade teacher has dressed up as Bessie Coleman, a stunt pilot and the first African American woman to hold a pilot license. 

She's also been Susie King Taylor, the first black Army nurse and teacher of former slaves. 

Everett brings stories alive from those known in and out of textbooks. 

"I also give them information about who I am, why they were important to our community. What we can learn from them, things like being kind and persevering. Never stop dreaming. It’s that wonder and curiosity in their eyes that’s amazing to see," she said. 

From a young age, Everett connected to black history and wanted to learn more. Her daughter, also a second-grader, has joined in on her mom's lessons. 

"It's pretty amazing to see her amongst her peers and the conversations they have about it," said Everett. "If we don’t visit history we are going to recreate, some of the things that we don’t necessarily want to recreate."

By bringing these figures to life, Everett hopes their journey will impact students throughout their whole life. 

"You want people to be kinder and if they begin to sympathize with struggles that others had or experience I’m hopeful that will shape them into kinder people," she said. 

Meanwhile, in Manatee County another teacher is working to do the same. 

Manatee County teacher Courtney O'Leary highlights important figures in Black history for her students every day in February

Courtney O'Leary is a language arts teacher at Buffalo Creek Middle School. Every day, she wears the name of an influential African American figure on her shirt. 

She said the names keep her students engaged and interested in the lessons. When they come to class, she said they're excited to learn about each figure and what they did to make history.