African-American History Month
African-American History Month was the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson, and first began as a celebration of Negro History Week in February of 1926. The commemoration became more and more popular, and was eventually extended to encompass the entire month of February in 1976 becoming known as African-American History Month. All Americans are encouraged to participate in recognizing and celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of African-Americans, not just in February, but all year long.
Photo courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica
The History of Black Economic Empowerment
African-Americans have sought to open doors of opportunity so that everyone will have an equal chance of gaining employment and receiving fair and just compensation for their work. These circumstances are why this year's theme focuses on the importance of recognizing the history of African-American economic empowerment. Please visit the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History and read the Executive Summary for more information.
Contributors to Black Economic Empowerment
General African-American History Month Resources
Books and Authors
- Watch AdLit.org's exclusive video interviews with award-winning African-American authors like Jacqueline Woodson, Christopher Paul Curtis, and Patricia and Frederick McKissack.
- For 40 years, the Coretta Scott King Awards have recognized outstanding books by African American writers and illustrators. Read more about the books that have received this award.
- Encourage your school to participate in the NCTE's nationwide African-American Read-In!
- Find graphic novels for African-American History Month. These texts cover a broad range of reading levels and topics. (Library Journal)
- Want to read books about African-Americans geared for teens? Check out these suggestions from the Arlington County, VA Public Library.
- Find out what libraries across the country are doing to celebrate African-American History Month.
African-American History Month Resources for Teachers
- Looking for general information about African-American History Month? This website has information about African-American History Month just for teachers.
- Use these free educational resources presented by the DOE.
- You can also visit the National Endowment for the Humanities site for lesson plans across all content areas.
- Smithsonian Education also provides African-American History Teaching Resources.
- Why not incorporate D.C. History into your lesson?
- Calling all social studies teachers! The National Park Service and The National Register of Historic Places share this list of links to historic properties, lesson plans, and more.
A griot is term that refers to a West African storyteller. They use oral tradition to pass down stories, songs, and history to the next generation.
- Visit the African-American Griot website to learn more and view their links to historical events.
- Use oral tradition in your classroom! The StoryCorps Griot Project has many examples of current African-Americans telling their stories.
- Toni Morrison, the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, weaves a griot-themed story into her acceptance speech.
- Incorporate African-American poetry into your classroom! This site has links to African-American poets, books, and lesson plans for understanding and writing poetry.
- Studying Langston Hughes? Use this lesson plan from NCTE's ReadWriteThink website.
- One teacher in New York City shares how to incorporate rap into teaching poetry.
- Watch short videos on a range of historical topics — the origins of slavery, the Niagara Movement, Abolition, the Harlem Renaissance, School Intergration, and Freedom Marches. (The History Channel).
- Watch biographical videos on African American activists, inventers, writers, perfomers, athletes, and political leaders, including George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Dandridge, and President Barack Obama. (The Biography Channel)
- PBS offers a range of special programming in February to celebrate programs African-Americans. Check your local listings for showtimes and the PBS website to watch free on-demand video anytime. Learn about slave spirituals, the story of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, pioneering shock jock Petey Green, and more.