Investigating, sharing, and understanding stories and narratives that shape society is crucial to understanding the context in which we live, the politics we’ve both inherited and created, and the education system we’re working to change. Black history is an essential aspect of the “story” of America and the world. As Nikole Hannah-Jones from The New York Times most recently demonstrated with her groundbreaking 1619 Project, you can’t understand American history without understanding Black history – and where they converge and diverge.
While it may seem obvious, teaching Black history needs to be more than a month-a-year endeavor. And it needs to go deeper than the traditional cursory glance at Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks. We should be challenging ourselves and our students to grapple with the full, complicated fabric of history. From Fannie Lou Hamer, to Ella Baker, to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), to Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance – a more holistic approach to Black history offers innumerable opportunities to engage in important discussions around race, gender, class, politics, and culture.
So, what can you do?
Black History Month activities for high school
Below we’ve compiled some classroom resources for educators who want to offer a more inclusive and complete discussion of the country’s history.
- The Largest Civil Rights Protest You’ve Never Heard Of (Rethinking Schools)
- Black Past
- Teach Reconstruction Campaign (The Zinn Education Project)
- 50 Resources for Black History Month (KQED)
- Celebrate Women This Black History Month (Teaching Tolerance)
- What Counts as History? (Teaching Tolerance)
- Want to read more and dig deeper into Black history? Take a look at XQ’s High School Reading List for Black History Month (And Every Month).
We’d love to know what resources you’re using and what approaches you’re taking in teaching Black history at your school and with your students. Give us a shout on Twitter @XQAmerica and let us know!