Teaching ‘Black Panther’ during BHM

When Black Panther was released in February 2018, I took a group of students on a trip after school to watch it at the local cinema. As it was an early showing, the cinema was empty, so it was like we had a private screening, which the students loved.

Before covid, I used to organise lots of trips to the cinema to see films I thought they’d enjoy and had a powerful message, but I’ve never seen or felt the reaction that came from them watching Black Panther. A colleague of mine later reflected during a BHM assembly the impact the film had on her.

For BHM, I take the month off from our usual curriculum and spend the lessons over those three or four weeks teaching content relating to Black history, empowerment and culture, and starting in October 2018 I include Black Panther for my Year 10 GCSE classes.

We watch the film together during lessons and we discuss the parts they particularly enjoyed and how it made them feel.

I created a follow up lesson which explores comparisons between Killmonger and T’Challa with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the symbolism of the Underground Railroad and the traditional dress depicted throughout the film. We also use this Black Panther Study Guide.

Suggested reading: ‘The Important Symbols and Messages of ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Black Panther is a gorgeous, groundbreaking celebration of black culture’.

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