Black History Month 2021

Thanks to Carter G. Woodson, February (chosen as an homage to the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass) is Black History Month. Although 28 days isn’t enough time to honor the extensive contributions and accomplishments of African Americans, there are plenty of resources you can use to engage your students in the ever-relevant facet of American history that is the Black experience. 

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), founded by Woodson in 1915, declared “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity” as this year’s theme. Click here to learn about the origins of Black History Month. Additionally, the ASALH has also curated a virtual festival to commemorate Black History Month 2021. 

In 2020, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum jointly created a web portal that provides student and teacher resources, as well as links to other resource-rich websites for Black history. Are you into facts and figures? The U.S. Census Bureau has put together a stat sheet on America’s Black population. 

Here’s a few more resources you might find helpful:

  • In a Members Speak column from the Fall 2020 issue of ATPE News magazine, ATPE member Scoie Green, a professional communications educator, explains how her colleagues can examine the trauma of racial injustice and its effects on students and their school experiences.
  • This Edutopia post talks about ways educators can infuse Black history into daily lessons, across all subjects.
  • Watch this video by Vanderbilt University professor David Ikard on the dangers of whitewashing Black history.
  • PBS has resources here and here you can use in the classroom. And Scholastic also has lesson plans and teaching resources you can use year-round.
  • Delve into the discussions surrounding the 1619 Project, which has brought about important conversations about the framework from which we teach American history.
  • Aisha Harris, now with NPR, penned an article providing five straightforward tips for improving Black History Month so everyone furthers their learning and understanding.
  • The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture is celebrating Black History Month through new programs, initiatives, and experiences.
  • History teachers can check out webinars hosted by The National WWII Museum as the museum honors the Black servicemembers who fought for our country at home and abroad. 

Check out the various museums across Texas that focus on Black history and see what events (virtual or otherwise) they might have, including:

Black history and American history are one in the same. We encourage educators and their students to spend time learning more about African American history during February and beyond.

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