Teaching Black History: Resources For All Ages
"The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are inflicting it upon me..." -Frederick Douglass
Black History Month is celebrated each year in the United States during the month of February to coincide with the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. Here are resources to help teach students about the significant events and people in African-American history in the United States:
1. Civil Rights Movement Virtual Learning Journey
Brimming with comprehensive, cross-curricular content, including 14 videos, primary source images and documents, compelling photo galleries, interactive maps, artwork, music, and more, this virtual collection invites students into an engaging exploration of some of the most significant events of the Civil Rights Movement.
2. Civil Rights Video Collection from Georgia Stories
This video collection from Georgia Stories, an original series from Georgia Public Broadcasting, explores the Civil Rights Movement from inside the classroom to the streets of Atlanta and examines the movement’s lasting impacts.
Excerpts and lessons from Ken Burns' Jazz documentary series explore the evolution of America’s greatest original art form, focusing on the men and women who could do something remarkable—create art on the spot. Jazz celebrates their music in the context of the complicated country that gave birth to and influenced it, and was in turn transformed by it.
4. The March on Washington
Help students understand the significance of the 1963 March on Washington and the role it played in the Civil Rights Movement with this collection of multimedia educational resources.
5. The History of Hip-Hop
Use this collection of interviews from National Public Radio (NPR) with high school students to chronicle seminal people and events in the hip-hop movement.
6. Honoring the Life of Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou’s talent was not defined by just one medium. Throughout her life, she was a poet, novelist, dancer, playwright, actor, and educator. In this lesson from PBS NewsHour Extra, students learn more about her extraordinary life.
7. The Underground Railroad
Students in all grades can make decisions as they follow Harriet Tubman and escape from a slave owner in this online interactive.
8. Using Oral History to Understand Segregation
Why is oral history important to remembering and learning from the past? How can hearing the stories of individuals help us better understand the experience and effects of segregation? In this lesson based on the PBS film, "A Place Out of Time: The Bordentown School,” students compare ideas and information from various sources to understand how oral histories contribute to our understanding of segregation. Students then conduct their own interviews to further their understanding of individual experiences during segregation.
9. Opening a Dialogue with Youth About Racism
To help those who may not know why, where, when or how to begin this conversation, USC Rossier has created Speak Up: Opening a Dialogue With Youth About Racism — a collection of interviews, resource guides, and op-eds aimed at answering some of the questions that can make these topics difficult, and prompt needed discussions about identity, inequality and education for children of color.
10. Basic Black
Students can explore news stories, interviews, and commentaries by and about African Americans with these resources from BASIC BLACK. BASIC BLACK was created in 1968 during the turmoil of the Civil Rights Movement as a response to the demand for public television programs to reflect the concerns of African Americans.
11. Civil Rights: Internet Activism and Social Change
Examine social media’s influence in America’s Civil Rights movement and its role in democratizing the media, in this video from Eyes on the Prize: Then and Now. Activists, including DeRay McKesson, use social media to support the work of social change protesters.
12. Muhammad Ali Collection
This collection includes resources and clips from Ken Burns' eight-hour documentary that brings to life one of the most indelible figures of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated millions of fans across the world with his mesmerizing combination of speed, grace, and power in the ring, and charm and playful boasting outside of it. Ali insisted on being himself unconditionally and became a global icon and inspiration to people everywhere.
13. Harlem Renaissance Lesson Plan
In suggested activities, students explore connecting ideas among artworks; compare portraits by African American artists and discuss black individuality; examine the work of Aaron Douglas and Pablo Picasso, whose work is inspired by African art; and analyze and compare the poetry of James Weldon Johnson and artwork by Aaron Douglas.
14. The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
The series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds.
Using video clips from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, this collection of lesson plans addresses a wide range of themes of the African-American experience from 1500 to the present.
15. Characters in Context: Their Eyes Were Watching God | The Great American Read
In this lesson, students will determine the relationship between characters in Their Eyes Were Watching God and black cultural moments throughout history. Students will analyze primary and secondary sources looking at slavery, reconstruction, and the black renaissance, and connect these time periods with characters from Zora Neale Hurston's novel.
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