Black History Month

Begun in 1926 by Black scholar and historian Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month was originally celebrated as a weeklong event. In 1976, Congress expanded the observance to the entire month of February. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

To help you integrate African-American culture and history into your curriculum, we offer a selection of resources, activities and lesson plans that cover a variety of grade levels.


Lesson Plans

Musical Harlem
Students in grades K-4 listen to jazz audio clips to learn to identify styles and musicians associated with the Harlem Renaissance.

African American Scientists and Inventors
Students in grades K-12 learn about and celebrate the contributions of African American scientists using a link from this page to The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences.

Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series: Removing the Mask
Students in grades 6-8 analyze and compare visual and poetic works by Jacob Lawrence, Helene Johnson, and Paul Laurence Dunbar and consider how they represent changing roles of African Americans.

The Poet’s Voice: Langston Hughes and You
Students in grades 6-8 investigate “voice” in Hughes’s poetry, develop their own distinctive voices in journal entries, and write an original poem or critical essay on an aspect of Hughes’s poetic voice.

The Illusion of Race
Students in grades 6-8 investigate both genetic and societal consequences of the often-artificial and evolving classifications of race and ethnicity. Student and teacher materials are included.

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.

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.



Culture & Change: Black History in America
Students in grades 3-4 can read about Rosa Parks, Melba Pattillo, and ten African American men and women and their inventions. They can view an interview with author Christopher Paul Curtis and listen to a history of jazz with Wynton Marsalis, and take a virtual journey on the Underground Railroad.

The Underground Railroad
Students make decisions as they follow Harriet Tubman and escape from a slave owner in this online interactive.



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.

Civil Rights Heroes Quiz

Black History Month Quiz

The Internet African American History Challenge
Three quiz levels with 7-10 questions

Quizzes and Crosswords


Additional Links

American Labor Studies Center
Looks at, not only the struggle of an oppressed people, but how that struggle was part of a larger social and economic movement to improve the lives of the working class.
Black Labor History

The History Channel
Contains videos, speeches, photo galleries, biographies, timelines, and interactive elements.

Smithsonian Education
Resources selected by the Smithsonian Institute for their relevance to classroom curriculum and standards of learning.
Educator Resources

The Library Of Congress
Put the power of primary sources to work in the classroom. Browse ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids.
For teachers

Huff Post Black History
Includes blogs, news, and community conversations about Black History.
Black History: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News

Association For The Study Of African American Life And History
Contains the definitive history of Black History Month.
Founders of Black History Month