African-American History Teacher Resources
Find African American History educational ideas and activities
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Baseball: The Tenth Inning - Bases Divided
Baseball is a relatively high-interest topic through which social studies classes can explore racial prejudice in the US. Video clips provide much of the background information that groups record on their handout and then share with the class. This leads to a discussion on the treatment of African Americans after the Civil War through the 1900s, and other considerations that impacted their acceptance into the major leagues. Once learners have a strong historical foundation for this topic, they are invited to consider whether they now live in a society in which race is not important. They take a position on this topic and write a persuasive essay. This thorough lesson includes everything you'll need, including a rubric and standards.
African Americans in the Civil War
Students examine the contributions of African American soldiers during the Civil War. In pairs, they complete Civil War timeline worksheets. They use character cards to assume the identities of African Americans and determine whether or not they would join the Union Army. Students role-play as historians and research various topics relating to African Americans in the Civil War.
Black History Rap
Students write a rap or hip-hop lyric about the life of a famous Black American. They explore famous Black Americans in history and explore how the rap form compares to other forms of poetic expression.
Portrait of The African American Family
Students examine how African American families were affected by slavery. As a class, they watch and read King's "I Have a Dream Speech" and write a paper on how this message relates to families. In their journals, they compare and contrast their ideas of slavery to actual accounts. To end the lesson plan, they discuss if King's dream has been achieved in the United States or if there is still more to be done.
African-American Christian Denominations: History in the United States
Eighth graders research the origins of African-American Christian denominations in the United States focusing on important historical leaders in the fight for religious freedom. They complete reports comparing two denominations.
After the American Revolution: Free African Americans in the North
Students investigate the life of African Americans in the North during the American Revolution. They analyze how authors use various techniques to write biographies, read about Sojourner Truth, conduct research, and write an excerpt about Sojourner.
After Reconstruction: Problems of African Americans
Students describe issues or problems facing African Americans following Reconstruction. They explain possible solutions to these problems suggested in the sources you find, and cite arguments for and against these solutions.
Examining the African American Role in New Haven History: Pride in the Past? Hope for the Future
Fifth graders examine the role of African-Americans in New Haven, Connecticut. Using two maps, they compare and contrast the differences in the town from the past to today. In groups, they use the internet to research the contributions of various individuals on the town and share their information with the class to end the lesson.
Eleventh graders examine the denial of rights to individuals in the United States. In this American Government lesson, 11th graders study President Roosevelt's Day of Infamy speech. Students create a presentation on the denial of rights in the United States.
Determine how African-Americans have broken barriers in this history lesson. Middle schoolers discuss the 15th Amendment and the American civil rights movement prior to analyzing Barack Obama's speech "A More Perfect Union," taking care to evaluate the speaker's argument. Then they compose essays of their own regarding social change.
African American Troops in the Civil War
This is a high-quality plan for exploring the role of African Americans in the Civil War with your class. It includes background information, step-by-step instructions for discussion and investigation, worksheets, and a final project. The complete package! Though the resource states it should only take one day, plus some time to complete the project, you may plan for additional days given the depth of the lesson.
Examining the African American Family through the Eyes of Women Authors
Students read stories by women authors on the characteristics of the African-American family. Using the internet, they research the history of issues that have affected African-American families from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement. They read and write about various authors and issues surrounding the African-American families to end the lesson.
Students research three African-American musicians and compose a report based upon their research in this Music Appreciation lesson for the middle level classroom. The lesson could be adapted for various student levels and abilities.
New! Art to Zoo: Life in the Promised Land: African-American Migrants in Northern Cities, 1916-1940
This is a fantastic resource designed for learners to envision what it was like for the three million African-Americans who migrated to urban industrial centers of the northern United States between 1910 and 1940. After reading a fictional interview detailing one family's unique experience of uprooting themselves for a better life, class members brainstorm what type of questions might have been asked in the interview. Then, after reading and learning more about the migrants' experiences as a whole, your young historians will interview someone they personally know who moved to their community as an adult and will then compose a short writing piece based on the interview.
New! Celebrating African American/Black Leaders in History: Their Religions and Their Legacy
Kick-start Black History Month with a fantastic resource that blends a study of prominent African American leaders in history with information on different religions. Beginning with a brainstorm and then leading into a collaborative timeline activity, your class members will break into groups and read and research the biographical and historical information of such noteworthy figures as Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the influence of their religious beliefs on their activism and their contributions to society. They will then arrange themselves into chronological order according to the accomplishments of the figures they researched and peer-teach their group's findings to their classmates.
African-Americans and the Military
Students study the key figures in African-American military history. They discover how African-American military history reflect both discrimination and the often heroic struggle to overcome discrimination. They examine the key periods of progress in African-American military history.
African-American Soldiers in World War I: The 92nd and 93rd Divisions
Students research the role played and contributions made by African American soldiers during World War I. They discuss the evolution of civil rights in America's history, and the progress that has been made in the last 100 years.
African American Experiences: Window to the Past
Students examine African life during slavery on the Internet. In this slavery lesson, students use the Internet to research slavery and create a scrapbook. Students review pictures of slavery and label them as primary or secondary sources.
African-American Scientists and Inventors
Students research the careers of African-American scientists and inventors. They uses both Internet and print resourses for their research. They design a slideshow presentation on five of these significant individuals.
Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits
Students explore the contributions of African Americans of the 20th century. In this African American history lesson, students examine portraits of Muhammad Ali, Romare Bearden, Lorraine Hansberry, Judith Jamison, and Leontyne Price in efforts to analyze the images and make inferences prior to discovering their individual contributions.