Black history month: Celebrating black history and people with disabilities

“When I was a teenager in special education wrestling with what it meant to have a disability, I didn’t have many examples of role models that looked like me.”

Lederick Horne

February is Black History Month. We’re pleased to share a video series that celebrates black history and people with disabilities. The videos feature African American poet and disability activist LeDerick Horne. Horne was diagnosed with learning disabilities in grade 3. Growing up, he says he didn’t have any role models — people he could look up to, who looked like him and who had learning disabilties. This series helps fills that gap. Each features a person with disabilities from the black community, such as Muhammad Ali and award-winning author Octavia E. Butler, who have “lived the experience and have also had excellent lives.”

Watch and share: Black history month and disability video series

Many of the amazing people featured in these videos are dyslexic or have a learning disabilty. We encourage you to share these with your students and your community.

About LeDerick Horne

As a child, Horne understood the sounds of the alphabet, but couldn’t recognize the written letters. In school, he was diagnosed with learning disabilities and placed in segregated special education classrooms along with many other boys from the black community. There he felt the sting of stigma and low expectations. His self-esteem plummeted. In college, he connected with other students who had learning disabilities, received the support and enouragement that he needed to learn, and started writing poetry. That was a pivotal moment that changed his life. Now he’s a respected poet, speaker, author and activist who inspires youth today.

Video: Thriving with learning differences – LeDerick Horne’s journey

The grandson of one of New Jersey’s most prominent civil rights leaders, Horne has earned a BA in Mathematics with a Fine Arts minor from New Jersey City University and also studied Mathematics at Middlesex County College. He regularly addresses academic, government, social, and business groups, including appearances at the White House and the United Nations. Horne uses his gift for spoken-word poetry as the gateway to larger discussions on equal opportunity, pride, self-determination and hope for people with disabilities.

Activist and poet, Horne serves as the role model he never had. His message to youth: “Above all else, I dare you to dream.”

Poem: I dare you to dream

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Published by decodingdyslexiaon

Decoding Dyslexia Ontario (DDON) is a voluntary, parent-led movement driven by families who are concerned with the limited access to interventions for children with dyslexia in Ontario public schools.

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