I have to say up front that I’m biased when it comes to this product because I now work for Urban Intellectuals as their content manager. However, it was the flashcards that lead me to reach out to the company about employment. Here’s the backstory: I’ve spent most of my adult life living and working overseas. Now that I’m a mother, this lifestyle proves to be more challenging because I don’t have the privilege of raising my children in their community of friends, family, and African-American culture. As a mother, I’m always searching for ways to help educate my kids about who they are and where they come from and, like all moms, my efforts began with Google. I searched for educational materials, supplemental educational materials, cultural resources, etc., and what kept jumping out at me from my searches were the Urban Intellectuals products. So, I dug a little further and learned more about the company.
Source: Urban Intellectuals / Urban IntellectualsUrban Intellectuals created their flashcard series to combat what they perceived as the “miseducation and suppression of Black achievements around the globe.” The cards are meant to serve as a supplementary educational tool, as a source of inspiration in terms of what’s possible for Black people to achieve, and to pique interest in learning about our real history. Currently, there are four volumes of flashcards: Volume 1 – Notable Black People in the World; Volume 2 – Women; Volume 3 -Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, and Mathematics STEAM; and Volume 4 – Pre-1492. A fifth volume will be added to the series soon.
Source: Urban Intellectuals / Urban IntellectualsWhen I discovered these flashcards, I felt like I’d struck gold. The books my children have access to when we’re overseas are limited in terms of variety and diversity. I want my children to learn more than Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and other prominent Black figures who garner most of the attention in academia. Not only do these flashcards provide information about Black leaders in many fields, but they also equally recognize the achievements of women and Black people globally, versus focusing wholly on the African-American male experience. As an African-American family living overseas, the cards help us round out elements of U.S .history and feel a sense of place in the broader African diaspora.
Our family has found several fun and engaging ways to use the cards. When we first got them, at dinner time we would each pick one card, read it aloud, then discuss the person, what their major accomplishment(s) was, and why they were important. As we became more familiar with the deck and each person in it, we would quiz each other by reading a few facts and guessing who the person was or saying the person’s name and having to guess some facts associated with them. We would also choose one or two we didn’t know as much about and Google them or find videos of them to watch to learn a little bit more. We started this during Black History Month and continued to do it even after the month had ended because we enjoyed it so much. The beauty of the cards is you can use them at any time and in whatever way works best for you.
The cards make great gifts to share with friends and family alike. Seeing the way my children react to the cards and the sense of pride they have about the people in the cards and themselves is priceless. While I still worry about how much my children will identify with their culture and heritage as we continue to travel and live abroad, these cards and other Urban Intellectuals products go a long way to helping close that gap.