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Celebrating African American History Month

Lesson Planning ChannelFebruary is African American History Month, a time set aside to promote public awareness of the history and achievements of African Americans. In recognition of that event, Education World offers activities and resources to help you encourage students to explore the history of African Americans, to learn about their struggles, to celebrate their successes, and to participate in their ongoing efforts. Included: Five lessons to commemorate the struggles and achievements of African Americans.

February is African American History Month, a time to encourage students to explore the history of African Americans, to learn about their struggles, and to celebrate their successes.

African American History Month

African American History Month is sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, an organization founded by Dr. Carter Woodson.

This annual event promoting public awareness of the history and achievements of African Americans was established in 1926 as Negro History Week. The celebration was begun by Carter Godwin Woodson, a noted African American scholar and historian, who hoped that Negro History Week would encourage Americans to study their ethnic roots and develop respect for one another. Woodson chose February because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were both born during that month.

In 1976, in conjunction with the United States bicentennial, which celebrated the freedom of all Americans, Negro History Week was extended and became Black History Month. More recently, the commemoration has come to be called African American History Month, although both Black History Month and African American History Month are widely used.

This week, Education World helps you celebrate African American History Month with five lessons designed to help your students recognize and appreciate this country's past and current struggles for unity. Click any activity headline below to link to a complete teaching resource! (Appropriate grade levels for each activity are indicated in parentheses.) Then see the bottom of this page for a list of additional online lessons and resources.


Black History in My Home Town
Invite students to tour Boston's Black Heritage Trail and create a black heritage tour of their own city or town. (Grades 3-12)

Sharing African Culture
Encourage students to learn about African American culture by reading aloud an African folk tale and instructing them to illustrate the tale. (Grades PreK- 5)

Experiencing Slavery and Imagining Freedom
Students read personal accounts of slavery and write a slave's account of freedom.(Grades 3-12)

Is Racism Dead?
Help students explore racism in the past and the present by examining the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957 and racial harmony at your school today. Included: A survey to explore whether racism is dead at your school. (Grades 9-12)

The Problem with Profiling
Connect racism with current events by asking students to research the issue of racial profiling and post their thoughts to a message board. (Grades 6-12)


Still looking for lessons for teaching African American history? Don't miss dozens of lesson ideas in Education World's Black History Month Archive. Then, if you still need additional ideas, we have searched the Net and uncovered the lessons below. (Approximate grade levels for many activities appear in parentheses.)


The African-American Mosaic
This Library of Congress exhibit offers a thorough discussion of four periods of black history supported by the library's vast African American collection of primary documents.

Black History Hotlist
The Franklin Institute provides this list of links to 27 sites on black history.

African American History Timeline
This timeline presents important dates in African American history.

African American Web Links
Don Mabry's Historical Text Archive contains links to hundreds of African American resources sorted by title, date, rating, and popularity.

Linda Starr
Education World®
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Links last updated 12/30/2014