All resources in African-American Studies


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This website is interactive, allowing students to work through 7 different "chapters" that detail the events leading up to, during and impact of the March on Selma. It includes primary source video clips, photographs, quotations, and clips from the movie, "Selma". Students can do one, or multiple of the chapters, or the site could be used as a jigsaw with different groups. Includes teacher's guide.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Homework/Assignment, Interactive

Authors: Hutchins Center for African American Research at Harvard University, Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance

North Star: A Digital Journey of African American History

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The North Star has been an important symbol in the African American community. A beacon of hope and freedom for some, a symbol of knowledge and information for others and a celestial representation of purpose and reason. On this website, students will explore African American history through digital activities on the Smithsonian Learning Lab platform. The activities, or collections, have gathered objects, stories, videos and thinking questions all in one place. It allows students to work through a "Learning Lab" and analyze primary objects in the museum to learn how to practice Historical Thinking, Reading Silences, Change & Continuity & Historical Context.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Primary Source

Authors: National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian

Digital Public Library of America: Activism in the US

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This website is a collection of various primary sources that have been digitized. This specific module looks at photographs, videos, posters, documents, etc related to activism in the United States. This includes the Civil Rights Movements, Civil Rights Demonstrations, Civil Rights Actions, Martin Luther King, Jr., Education Activism, Anti-War Activism, Women’s Activism, LGBT Activism. There are several other primary source sets as well.

Material Type: Primary Source

Author: Digital Public LIbrary of America

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery

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This is an anti-racism institution that uses objects to inform, to teach, and to create dialogues about race relations. They use primary sources to document and learn from the past. The mission of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery is to teach tolerance using objects of deeply rooted intolerance. Resources promote personal and community awareness, social justice, and racial healing. The museum understands that all individuals have varying comfort levels when speaking about race and confronting racism. The Educational Resources include a virtual tour of the museum, curriculum guide, resource guide, media literacy unit and a unit that addresses racial disparity in Covid-19.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan, Primary Source

Authors: Dr David Pilgrim, Ferris State University

Black Past: African American History Archives •

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The BlackPast has an interactive African American history timeline that can be used to contextualize the history being studied. BlackPast has an extensive database to search within. The website is in encyclopedia format and has both written and primary visual sources available. A narrative written by professional historians accompanies each source.By clicking the "African-American History" link at the top of the page you can see a drop down menu with multiple types of primary sources, timeline, documents and speeches, and links to other museums and records.

Material Type: Primary Source, Reading, Reference Material

Author: Black Past

Learning For Justice: Let's Talk! Facilitating Critical Conversations with Students

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Educators play a crucial role in helping students talk openly about the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of social inequality and discrimination. Learning how to communicate about such topics as white privilege, police violence, economic inequality and mass incarceration requires practice, and facilitating critical conversations with students demands courage and skill. This guide offers classroom-ready strategies you can use to plan discussions and to facilitate these conversations with your students. Also includes planning documents and resources for further investigation.

Material Type: Self Assessment, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Southern Poverty Law Center

Teaching Hard History: Grades 6–12

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Teaching Hard History resources for high-school educators include a framework, as well as student-facing videos and primary source texts. Educators will also find teaching tools and professional development resources. The Key Concepts pinpoint 10 important ideas that all students must understand to truly grasp the historical significance of slavery. Explored through Summary Objectives in grades 6–12 the Key Concepts serve as tools educators can use to structure their teaching.Includes Student Texts, Videos, Quizzes and Inquiry Design Modules.

Material Type: Primary Source, Reading, Reference Material, Unit of Study

Authors: Learning For Justice, Southern Poverty Law Center

The Music of African American History

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This lesson traces the long history of how African Americans have used music as a vehicle for communicating beliefs, aspirations, observations, joys, despair, resistance, and more across U.S. history. Lesson includes objectives and standards, sample lyrics, lesson plan, assessment and extension activities.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Reference Material

Authors: EDSIDEment, National Endowment for the Humanities

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: African American Lesson Plans

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History houses primary source documents and quality lesson plans. This link connects teachers to 31 pre-made lesson plans aimed at 9-12 grade students in relation to African American HIstory and the use of primary sources. You will need to create an account, but all resources are free.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Reading

Author: Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Slave Voyages: Slavery Database

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The SlaveVoyages website is a collaborative digital initiative that compiles and makes publicly accessible records of the largest slave trades in history. Search these records to learn about the broad origins and forced relocations of more than 12 million African people who were sent across the Atlantic in slave ships, and hundreds of thousands more who were trafficked within the Americas. Explore where they were taken, the numerous rebellions that occurred, the horrific loss of life during the voyages, the identities and nationalities of the perpetrators, and much more. Search the Atlantic Slave Trade or the Intra-America Slave Trade, as well as the people and images of victims and lesson plans that teach students how to use the data.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Primary Source

Author: Rice University

Assessment: Kathleen Cleaver Interview

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This assessment from the Stanford History Education Group gauges whether students can source and contextualize a document. Students must first examine an interview excerpt on a race riot in Nashville during the Civil Rights Movement, then determine which facts can help them evaluate the interview's reliability. Strong students will be able to explain how the the gap in time between the riot and the interview (Fact 2) and that Cleaver was not present for the riot (Fact 3) make the account less reliable.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Rubric/Scoring Guide

Author: Stanford History Education Group

How We Remember: The Struggle Over Slavery in Public Spaces

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Students read about sites of memory in How the Word Is Passed and imagine how to commemorate what occurred there. They then compare that to how the respective site is currently commemorated and described by docents, as well as how slavery is viewed at places like Monticello, Angola State Prison, Galveston Island and others. Students are asked to create their own idea for how slavery should be commemorated in modern times.

Material Type: Formative Assessment, Lesson Plan, Reading

Authors: Ana Rosado, Bill Bigelow, Cierra Kaler-Jones, Jesse Hagopian, Ursula Wolfe-Rocca.

The Impact of Racial Discrimination on Black American Lives in the Jim Crow Era (1944 – 1960)

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Students analyze documents from the holdings of the National Archives to assess the impact of legalized racial segregation on the lives of Black Americans from 1944 – 1960. Students analyze historical documents and discuss how Jim Crow, a system of laws and practices set in place to maintain white supremacy, limited the freedom of African Americans. These documents from 1944 – 1960 express the words and actions of people or institutions working to either remove or reinforce race-based barriers to equality. Guiding Question How did Jim Crow laws and practices limit the freedom of Black Americans?

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Primary Source

Author: The National Archives

African American History: Lunch Counter Closed

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In this lesson, students watch a clip from the episode Woolworth Sign in which they learn about the use of sit-ins and nonviolence in the Civil Rights Movement. They then examine period images and news footage in order to analyze the strategies of the Civil Rights Movement and their effectiveness, and create a newspaper article about the events of the time period.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Primary Source

Author: PBS Learning Media

Lesson Plan: Understanding the History Behind Modern Racial Profiling

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Through the short film A Conversation with My Black Son (originally published by The New York Times as one of its Op-Docs) by directors Geeta Gandbhir and Blair Foster, students will hear from parents who have personally struggled with the burden of “The Conversation” and compare/contrast their stories and strategies for keeping their children safe. Students will then research and analyze the history of policing in America from the colonial era to the present as it relates to the African-American community and identify how that history produced the need for black parents to have “The Conversation” today.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: PBS Learning Media

African American History (Teaching with Historic Places) (U.S. National Park Service)

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Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) uses historic places in National Parks and in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom. Here you’ll find place-based educational resources relating to African American history and culture; including lesson plans and "Curiosity Kits" that are a series of articles that students can read individually or in a small group, in order to spark historical thinking.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Primary Source

Author: National Park Service

Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System

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Racialized social control has adapted to race-neutral social and political norms in the form of mass incarceration. Criminalization stands in as a proxy for overt racism by limiting the rights and freedoms of a racially defined undercaste. In this lesson, students will analyze how mass incarceration functions as a mechanism of racialized social control in the United States today, and will learn about “the age of colorblindness” through using Graffiti Text and analyzing writings from Southern Poverty Law Center.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Reading

Authors: Learning for Justice, Southern Poverty Law Center

Birmingham 1963: Primary Documents

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This lesson asks students to interrogate six historical documents that show differing opinions about the conflict in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Students are then asked to draw connections to modern day movements. Objectives: At the end of the lesson, students will be able to: 1. Analyze written documents for position of writer and content 2. Synthesize a historical position based upon document analysis 3. Connect historical struggles for equality with current movements Essential Questions: 1. What effect did the media have on public perception during the Birmingham protest of racial segregation in 1963?2 2. What equality struggles have the media brought into the national spotlight in recent times?

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Primary Source

Authors: Learning for Justice, Southern Poverty Law Center

Matthew Ashby, A Williamsburg Resident

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In this lesson, students explore how historians use primary sources to discover information about people of the past and draw conclusions about their lives. Using the case study of Matthew Ashby, a free mulatto man who lived in Williamsburg prior to the Revolutionary War, students investigate primary sources and build a profile of this unique Williamsburg resident. NOTE: To further apply the methodology of this lesson, there is also an associated packet (Through Different Eyes Packet: Biographies of 18th-Century Williamsburg Residents) containing a collection of biographies of 18th-century Williamsburg residents and related primary source materials.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation- Teacher Institute