Lesson Plans & Activities
Rhythm & Improv: Jazz & Poetry
Students in grades 9-12 analyze jazz music, considering sound, rhythm, and improvisation in order to identify jazz characteristics in poems by Yusef Komunyakaa, Sonia Sanchez, and Langston Hughes. They will then incorporate the elements in their own poetry.
Variation in Human Skin Color
Students in grades 9-12 explore factors controlling human skin color variation and how perceived racial differences affect human society. Student and teacher materials are included.
Teaching Hard History
These resources for middle- and high-school educators include Learning for Justice’s grades 6–12 framework, as well as student-facing videos and primary source texts to help all students grasp the historical significance of slavery. Educators will also find teaching tools and professional development resources.
Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten
Through a series of video clips and activities, students can learn about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and how the community of Tulsa is coming to terms with its past, present, and future.
African American English
In this unit, students in grades 9-12 examine several hypotheses about the development of African American English (AAE), consider how AAE has been treated in schools, and analyze the influential role of AAE in modern culture and society.
Notable African Americans from the 18th-century to the present
In this Jeopardy-type quiz game students in grades 5-12 can choose from three levels of difficulty to test their knowledge of famous African Americans. Spelling counts, for example Billy Holiday rather than Billie Holiday would be marked incorrect.
The Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom
The Underground Railroad was the network used by enslaved black Americans to obtain their freedom in the 30 years before the Civil War (1860-1865).
African American History Month Exhibits & Collections
Resources covering art and design, baseball, civil rights, culture, folklife, military, music and performing arts, religion, slavery, and resource guides.
W. E. B. Du Bois: Online Resources
Includes digital materials related to W. E .B. Du Bois and links to external Web sites.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
Stories, interactive maps, activities and tools, and lesson plans and activities for grades 6-12.
Black Labor History
Lessons and links on the life histories of people whose struggle was part of a larger social and economic movement to improve the lives of the working class.
Separate Is Not Equal – Brown v. Board of Education
History, images, and other resources covering the historic Supreme Court ruling ending segregation and ensuring opportunity in education.
Africans in America
Images, documents, stories, biographies, and commentaries. The site provides teacher’s and youth guides. The four part series may be in local libraries.
Black History – Biography – Celebrate Black History Month & People
Biographies, photos and videos of notable African Americans.
The Awakening of Norman Rockwell
This article examines Norman Rockwell’s career and how his painting, The Problem We All Live With, for the January 14, 1964 issue of Look magazine was a turning point in this career and reflected his unexpected politicization in the 1960s.
Poems to Celebrate Black History Month
Poems and articles by African-Americans.
Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns
Online activities and biographies, transcripts of many interviews with musicians, K-12 lesson plans, and a music study guide for grades 5-8.
The History of Hip-Hop
A collection of interviews from National Public Radio (NPR) that chronicle the seminal people and events in the hip-hop movement.
African American Visual Art and the Black Arts Movement
The Black Arts Movement (BAM) began in the mid-1960s to provide a new vision of African Americans. This site provides images galleries a theoretical essay, timeline, and links to other online art sources. Note: the top banner links are dead but the bottom links are functional.
The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed
African American History by region.
10 Black Scientists that Science Teachers Should Know About
A list from PBS Education of some of the top Black scientists, engineers, inventors, and mathematicians that includes links to media resources to help you bring their work—and stories—into your classroom.
8 Black Inventors Who Made Daily Life Easier
This blog post outlines some of the lesser-known but vital contributions of Black inventors.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: Resources for Teachers
Before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball there was Negro League Baseball. This site features history, a timeline, photos, and teacher resources.
African American Athletes
Brief biographies and film clips of outstanding African American athletes. Don’t miss the links to legal and political figures, scientists and educators, activists, artists and writers, entertainers, and musicians and singers.
Blues Journey (23:17 minutes)
This four part audio series explores the history of the blues.
Legacy: Black and White in America
Compares African-American life today and that of the Civil Rights generation.
Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (68 minutes)
Considered the oldest black neighborhood in America, Faubourg Tremé is the origin of the southern civil rights movement and the birthplace of jazz. Check local listings to see when it airs on a local PBS station.
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (220 minutes)
Jack Johnson was the first African American boxer to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World. The website includes the story of Johnson’s life and career, a timeline, and media gallery. The DVD may be available in local libraries.