As an integral part of the United States’ rich record of achievement, Black people have been instrumental in humans' exploration of space, in the development of important medicines, in feeding people around the world, in leadership for social justice, in all of the arts, in education, in tech, in business and so much more!
Studying Black history helps children see themselves and see others in what they are learning about the world, and we have a host of ideas and links to help your children learn about the leadership, influence, and ingenuity of Black people.
Amber O’Neal Johnston, author and homeschool mom of four, describes books as possible mirrors and windows for children, because books can show people who are like them—mirrors—and people who may seem different from them—windows (Johnston, A Place to Belong, chapters 4, 5).
As you use the resources we offer as potential windows and mirrors for your kids and teens, we recommend reading Amber's book, A Place to Belong: Raising Kids to Celebrate Their Heritage, Community, and the World. No matter your background, Amber offers concrete ideas for celebrating your own family heritage and helping your children learn about the heritage of others.
As you study Black history, you and your kids could:
(as always, parents should preview all internet resources for suitability)
- Watch a movie, documentary or video about Black accomplishments in STEM fields
- Make a poster featuring a Black scientist or engineer
- Listen to and learn about music recordings by Black composers and artists
- Make a slideshow or write a sports article about a successful Black athlete
- Read aloud some poetry by Black authors
- Watch and discuss the Crash Course on Black American History on YouTube
- Learn about Black leaders in technology and tell a friend, relative or sibling about their accomplishment
- Explore Black artists in the National Gallery of Art Collection. Maybe even re-create a painting!
- Research successful Black entrepreneurs
- Take field trips to Black historic sites
Another idea is to study an aspect of Black history through your child's or teen's personal interest. In addition to the fields we have already mentioned, Black people have also been leaders in dance, literature, architecture, cinema, theology, politics, human rights, culinary arts, the military, academia and so much more. If someone in your family has a passion, you and your child or teen can research and celebrate the Black people who have influenced that field.
Use our site's suggested resources to find articles, websites, videos and activities to learn more about Black scholars, educators, engineers, activists, doctors, musicians, inventors, artists, scientists, writers, religious leaders, and others who have shaped our world. We also suggest heading over to Amber's Heritage Mom site for her well-organized, hand-curated list of book recommendations with summaries and descriptions of how Amber is using the books in her homeschool.
Black History Resources
- Y—Young (PreK-3rd)
- M—Middle (4th-6th)
- O—Older (7th-12th)
- T—Teacher Resources
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library has a large online collection of historical photos, art, artifacts, oral history recordings, books, newspapers, and other primary sources for studying Black history and culture in the US. In addition, its #SchomburgSyllabus catalogs a wealth of Black-authored educational resources, covering the topics of Afrofuturism & Comics, Fashion, Film, Disability, the Black Panther Party, Politics and Activism, Environmental Racism, Medical Racism, and much more.
Black History in Music
This lesson collection from Teach Rock "highlights the intersections of music and black experience in America, from slavery to the Civil War to abolition to Reconstruction and sharecropping to the Great Migration to Southern integration. The collection also focuses on the various social movements initiated by the Black community, from Civil Rights to Black Power to Black Lives Matter. In addition, a pair of lessons explore the establishment of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday – both the legislative process and Stevie Wonder’s long-lasting musical contribution to the successful public campaign. Finally, several lessons focus on prominent African American writers and artists such as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Gordon Parks."
The Harlem Renaissance
"The Harlem Renaissance was a period of rich cross-disciplinary artistic and cultural activity among African Americans between the end of World War I (1917) and the onset of the Great Depression and lead up to World War II (the 1930s). Artists associated with the movement asserted pride in black life and identity, a rising consciousness of inequality and discrimination, and interest in the rapidly changing modern world—many experiencing a freedom of expression through the arts for the first time." These lesson plans, activities, and primary sources from the National Gallery of Art cover pioneering Black artists from the Harlem Renaissance.
Black Women in STEM
Black women hold the title of many famous firsts in history, many of which are in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Here's 50 pioneering Black women in STEM you should know about.
Black Women’s Suffrage
"The Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection is a collaborative project to provide digital access to materials documenting the roles and experiences of Black Women in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and, more broadly, women’s rights, voting rights, and civic activism between the 1850s and 1960. The materials in this collection include photographs, correspondence, speeches, event programs, publications, oral histories, and other artifacts." From the Digital Public Library of America.
NASA Black History
This Black History page from NASA profiles the Black men and women who have made and are continuing to make history through their work in STEM.
African American Intellectual History Society
"The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) is an independent scholarly organization that aims to foster dialogue about researching, writing, and teaching black thought and culture. AAIHS originally began as a blog founded by Christopher Cameron in early 2014." The AAIHS blog, Black Perspectives, is an excellent resource for learning about Black history through the eyes of Black scholars. You can find hundreds of articles covering Black history in art, music, politics, science, and more. The site also has a syllabus for additional learning.
13th, named after the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, is a documentary that explores the history of slavery in the US and the policies that followed it. You can watch the full film for free on YouTube.
The National Museum of African American History & Culture
The National Museum of African American History & Culture of the Smithsonian Institute holds a vast online collection of historical photos, artifacts, and educator resources for learning and teaching Black History.
Teaching About the Tulsa Race Massacre With The New York Times
"In this lesson, students will explore a 3-D model of historical Greenwood — home of “Black Wall Street” — and then learn about how a white mob destroyed a prosperous Black community 100 years ago."
Segregated by Design
Segregated by Design is a short film that explores the history of national and local laws and policies that segregated US cities and built the landscape for modern society.
The 1619 Project Curriculum
The 1619 Project is a 100-page, special issue of the New York Times Magazine published in 2019 that reframes and then details American history following the arrival of the first slave ship to the U.S. in 1916. It digs into infrequently taught history from the nation's found to modern-day Redlining and Mass Incarceration practices. This curriculum by the Pulitzer Center includes a pdf version of the magazine, reading guides, accompanying podcasts, lessons, activities, and more.
Black Past is a website dedicated to anything and everything Black History. The site has a vast catalog of primary and secondary sources to study both African and African American History. It includes links to museums and institutions, newspapers and periodicals, informational pages on Black issues, famous firsts, STEM, arts, biographies, and more, as well as dedicated children's pages.
Google Arts & Culture: Black History and Culture
Google Arts & Culture sites are are collaboration of various museums, universities, and other cultural institutions. The Black History and Culture project contains tons and tons of articles, art, artifacts, photos, interviews, videos, lesson plans, virtual tours, and more on Black figures from history, Black artists, makers, musicians, writers, activists, and historic locations.
Racial Justice Coloring Page Downloads
The featured Black historical figures include Malcolm X, Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Harriet Tubman. Two activity pages are provided for each individual featured (one for research and writing, and one for coloring/art).
Guide to Black History
"In 1984, to support the growing demand for knowledge of African American history, Dr. Debra Newman Ham, with the help of several other colleagues, took on the responsibility of compiling a guide to black history records at the National Archives. With the publication of Black History: A Guide to Civilian Records in the National Archives, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) became recognized as one of the primary sources for African American historical documents. Here you will find an updated version, along with tools and other resources that can be used while conducting research relating to African American History at the National Archives."
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator and civil rights leader best known for starting a school for African American students in Daytona Beach, Florida, and for being an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The website offers historical information about Mary McLeod Bethune for those who cannot visit in person.
Hampton National Historic Site
Hampton is the name of the georgian estate built in the early 1800's. The historic site there tells the story of the people, enslaved African Americans, indentured servants, industrial and agricultural workers, and owners, who worked there.
Central High School National Historic Site
Little Rock Central High School is recognized for the role it played in the desegregation of public schools in the United States. The website offers historical information about the park for those who cannot visit in person.
Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site
Carter Godwin Woodson was an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The website offers historical information about Carter Godwin Woodson for those who cannot visit in person.
The Story of Nicodemus
The first town established by African Americans after the Civil War. This is a feature website from The National Park Service.
Boston African American National Historic Site
The African Meeting House was built in 1806 to house the first African Baptist Church of Boston. It was the first African American Baptist church created north of the Mason Dixon Line and is now the oldest surviving black church building in America. In 1863, it served as a recruitment post for the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Regiment, which was the first official African American military regiment to fight for the Union in the Civil War. The website offers historical information about the church for those who cannot visit in person.
40 Unsung Heroes of Black History We Should All Learn About This Month
February is Black History Month. While schools feature Black history this month, most students will only hear about the same handful of prominent figures: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and perhaps a few others. Such a limited view ignores the countless historical achievements of many Black men and women who faced enslavement, violence, and prejudice on their roads to greatness. From early inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs to civil rights activists and politicians, the scope of Black history is far older and more significant than the March on Washington or "I Have a Dream." Read on to learn more about sadly forgotten figures in Black history.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute has a wealth of resources to start any MLK lesson plans. The site offers encyclopedic information, primary sources, secondary sources, lesson plans, and online events (including documentaries).
Black History Crafts and Activities for Kids
A collection of crafts, coloring pages, puzzles, and activities to teach Black History Month. From DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Black History Month Resources for Kids
Fact pages, biographies, coloring pages, and other resources covering various Black History topics, such as Frederick Douglass, Tuskegee Airmen, Sojourner Truth, Juneteenth, and much more. From Surfnetkids.com
Puzzles for Kids - Black History Month
A collection of word search puzzles, crosswords, word scrambles, quizzes, and games pertaining to Black History and the civil rights movement. From The Spruce Crafts.
The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture
The Center focuses on documenting and preserving memorabilia from the civil rights period, Montgomery black history, and the history of Alabama State University.
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
Maggie Lena Walker was an African American teacher and businesswoman. She was the first female bank president and the first woman to charter a bank in the United States. Walker also became an example for people with disabilities later in life when she became limited to a wheelchair. The website offers historical information about Maggie Lena Walker for those who cannot visit in person.
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park
The Birth Home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visitors are allowed only with a park ranger led tour. The tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The website offers historical information about Martin Luther King, Jr. for those who cannot visit in person.
Nicodemus National Historic Site
At the end of the Civil War, African Americans left the south and settled in the Great Plains. Nicodemus is the oldest and only remaining all Black Town west of the Mississippi River. The website offers historical information about the town for those who cannot visit in person.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Born into slavery, Frederick Douglass was a runaway slave, abolitionist, civil rights advocate, author and statesmen. Visitors to the site learn about Frederick Douglass' efforts to abolish slavery and his struggle for rights for all oppressed people.
Selma to Montgomery National Voting Rights Trail
Established by Congress in 1996 to commemorate the events, people, and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama. The website offers historical information about the march for those who cannot visit in person.
Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site
On the campus of historic Tuskegee University. The site includes the George W. Carver Museum and The Oaks, home of Booker T. Washington.
Black Inventors A-Z
This is a A-Z list of popular Black inventors that we have more extensive information on: biographies, images, timelines, and other media.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The website of the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum includes a virtual tour of the museum as well as teacher resources.
Rosa Parks Library and Museum
The only museum dedicated to the civil rights icon. Occasionally hosts virtual tours if you can't be there in person.
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
On Sunday morning, September 15, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four girls. This murderous act shocked the nation and galvanized the civil rights movement.
Famous Black Inventors
Famous black inventors - a database list of African American patent holders and individual biographies of African American inventors.
Teachers' Guide to Follow the Drinking Gourd
Follow the Drinking Gourd, a song published in 1928 by H.B. Parks, encodes instructions for enslaved peoples to escape to freedom using the Underground Railroad. This site contains lyric meanings, astronomy information and activities, and worksheets for elementary, middle school, and high school students.
Did Quilts hold codes to the Underground Railroad?
An article from National Geographic that explores the symbols and codes that two historians say enslaved people may have used to navigate the Underground Railroad.
Black Scientists and Inventors
An encyclopedic article and index of Black Scientists and Inventors from Infoplease.com.
George Washington Carver
"George Washington Carver (January 1, 1864 - January 5, 1943) was an agricultural chemist who discovered 300 uses for peanuts as well as hundreds of uses for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes."
Black History at InfoPlease
An encyclopedic index of Black History from InfoPlease that covers the history of Black History Month, famous Black Americans A-Z, awards, holidays, contemporary issues, and much more.
Little Known Facts About Black History
Lots of biographies, a "Who Am I?" interactive quiz, teacher resources (created to accompany History Channel programming), and videos
The African-American Mosaic
A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture; taken from an exhibit of the same name.
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
In the 1940's Tuskegee, Alabama became home to a "military experiment" to train America's first African-American military pilots. In time the "experiment" became known as the Tuskegee Experience and the participants as the Tuskegee Airmen. Come share their experience!
African-American History: Black History Month
A collection of coloring pages, worksheets, quizzes, activities, and more for studying Black History Month in your classroom. From EnchantedLearning.com