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Black History Month Lesson Plan

Share the importance of Black History Month with your students. Bring classrooms to life with MY HERO's Multimedia Resources and Lesson Plan for Teachers. Includes discussion guide and learning outcomes.

Black History Month Lesson Plan
Credit: MY HERO

Amanda Gorman made history as America's First Youth Poet Laureate and read her poem "The Hill We Climb" at Joe Biden's Presidential Inauguration.

Learn more about Amanda Gorman by reading this story by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

Listen to Amanda Gorman reciting "The Hill We Climb".

Amanda Gorman: The Poet Who Healed a Nation

By: Shannon Luders-Manuel
Amanda Gorman, America's first Youth Poet Laureate, recited the original poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Hill We Climb by Poet Hero Amanda Gorman

Audio of The Hill We Climb "For there was always light. If only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it." 

Black Lives Matter

George Floyd

By: Saint George
George Floyd was a victim of police brutality. The local protests fueled by social media became global protests.

Portrait of Breonna Taylor

By: Saint George

George Floyd

By: Giselle Villatoro
George Floyd has become a national symbol against police brutality on the black community. He was killed when a white police officer put his knee on Floyd's neck stood for 8 minutes while Floyd and onlookers shouted that he could not breathe. The Black Lives Matter's movement honors him and fights for injustices against the black community at the hands of the police.

Breonna Taylor

By: Giselle Villatoro
Breonna Taylor has become a national symbol against police brutality on the black community. She graduated as an EMT and was working to fight against the coronavirus pandemic. She was killed by the police while asleep during a raid of her apartment. The Black Lives Matter movement honors her memory and fights against injustices so that there are no more deaths of black people at the hands of the police.

Ahmaud Arbery

By: Giselle Villatoro
The Black Lives Matter movement honors Ahmaud Arbery and fights for injustices against the black community at the hands of the police.

Black History Month | Featured Hero: John Lewis

John Lewis
Credit: MY HERO

Citizenship

Produced by:Anson Schloat and John G. Young

A film about John Lewis on citizenship and character: "To be a good citizen is to obey the rules...the laws. Unless those laws conflict with your conscience.

Congressman John Lewis, Portrait by Robert Shetterly, AWTT.org

By: Xenia Shin

John Lewis was involved in the Civil Rights Movement as a young man and then later became a member the House of Representatives from the state of Georgia.


Congressman John Lewis Discussion Questions

1. In the film Citizenship, Congressman John Lewis states when the laws conflict with our conscience, we have an obligation to disobey the laws. Do you agree or disagree with Lewis?

2. Were the civil rights activists of the 1960s successful in changing the laws by breaking the laws? 

3. What character traits do you think a good citizen possesses?

4. As a student, what tools do you have in your power to affect laws in your country?

Students read the following stories about W.E.B. Dubois and Katherine Johnson and consider the discussion questions.

W.E.B. Dubois

By: Jennifer Beck

Martin Luther King, Jr. said "history cannot ignore W.E.B. Dubois." Dubois was a leading 20th century writer and scholar who laid the intellectual foundations of African American literature and civil rights movement.

Katherine Johnson

By: Kyra from Ankara, Turkey

Her story was hidden for decades: Katherine Johnson plotted multiple flight courses for NASA, including the Apollo 11 spacecraft, the first spaceship to reach the moon. This story is available in text with audio.


W.E.B. DuBois and Katherine Johnson Discussion Questions

 

1. Woodson thought the contributions of African Americans were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who used them. How does Woodson's quote relate to the story of Katherine Johnson, and the title of the movie about her, Hidden Figures?

2. Martin Luther King, Jr. said "history cannot ignore W.E.B. Dubois." Based on your reading of the story, what do you think King meant by his statement? Why is what he said true or not true? 

3. What can we do today to  keep stories from being overlooked, ignored or suppressed? 


Students Watch the following Black History Month Films Reflecting on the Fight for Civil Rights.

The March for Freedom 1963

Davon Johnson

Nonviolent civil disobedience based on Christian beliefs started long before the 1963 peaceful protest, March for Freedom on Washington D.C. PASSWORD: 2march4freedom1963

William D Matthews: A Cure for Rebellion

Taegan Loy and Trent Powell

This documentary tells the story of William D. Matthews, , abolitionist, and Civil War veteran, who assisted African-Americans escaping from slavery using the Underground Railroad, and led troops to victory, as the first African-American officer, in the Civil War.

Black History Film Discussion Questions

1. What were the contributions of A. Phillip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and A.J. Muste to the Civil Rights Movement? 

2. What effect did the March for Freedom in 1963 have on the rights of individuals? What still needs to be done to ensure equal rights for all?  

3. William D. Mathews is an example of an unsung hero who fought for freedom. Who are other unsung heroes who have fought or are fighting for equal rights and freedom from discrimination? Consider sharing their story with MY HERO.

4. The students from Seaman High School produced the film honoring William D. Mathews. Students are encouraged to use this as an example of how to honor their hero through audio and images in film.

The following films, which were recognized at the MY HERO International Film Festival, are by two young emerging African American student filmmakers.

Bombingham

Produced by:Gabrielle Gorman

An expressionistic account of a devastating historical event by emerging filmmaker Gabrielle Gorman.

Bryan Stevenson

By: Arthur (Trey) Carlisle

Bryan Stevenson has been recognized across the globe for the work that he has done to address poverty and racial inequality.

Emerging Filmakers Discussion Questions

1. How do these films look back at history and also tell us about the African American experience today?

2. How do each filmmakers' personal beliefs and individual styles influence the content of each film? 


Additional MY HERO Black History Month Resources to Enrich Learning

Black History Month | Civil Rights Heroes and World Leaders

By: MY HERO Staff

MY HERO Celebrates Black History Month. Be Inspired by African American Civil Rights Heroes and World Leaders.

Black History Month | Heroes in Music, Art, and Literature

By: MY HERO Staff

MY HERO Celebrates Black History Month. Learn about Heroes in Music, Art, and Literature

Black History Month | Heroes in Sports

By: MY HERO Staff

MY HERO Celebrates Black History Month. Get inspired by African American Heroes in Sports.

Black History Month | Heroes in the Sciences

By: MY HERO Staff

MY HERO Celebrates Black History with this feature on African American Heroes in the Sciences

Historian Carter Woodson - Known as the Father of Black History Month

 

 

The historian Carter Woodson is known as the "Father of Black History Month." In 1926, he established Negro History Week. He chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Half a century later, this observance evolved into Black History Month, which we celebrate the entire month of February.

Carter G. Woodson

By: Raven from Colorado

Carter Woodson, "Father of Black History Month," founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History because the contributions of African Americans "were overlooked and ignored.


From Slavery to Speeches: Frederick Douglass

By: Sean Rollins

Frederick Douglass understood the power of stories. He wrote several autobiographies through his life, from slavery to statesman. He was a powerful advocate for the Abolitionist and Suffragist movement, and famous orator and writer.

Carter Woodson started the Association for the Study of African American Life and History because he felt the contributions of African Americans were "overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them."

In light of Woodson's quote, why do you think Frederick Douglass wrote multiple autobiographies? What might have happened if he did not write down his life story?


Black Lives Matter - Voices for Hope and Change Resource Showcase

Activists for Racial Justice: Films, Art and Stories
Credit: MY HERO

Learning Outcomes

As students recognize the contributions of individuals to the abolition of slavery and civil rights movement, they will develop critical thinking skills. Students will identity civil rights leaders who inspire them. Students are encouraged to stand up for their rights and the rights of others, both in their community and globally.  

Links to more Black History Month resources.



PBS Newshour Extra "The Hill We Climb" Lesson Plan
Credit: PBS

 

Laura Nietzer

The Black History lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

Even More MY HERO Resources to Use in the Classroom

Do your students have a hard time concentrating with online learning?

Get them excited by sharing their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program.

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

Tutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO

Encourage your students to ENTER the MY HERO contests where they can WIN prizes, cash awards, participation certificates, gift certificates, t-shirts and recognition by our global audience.

Have students check out the MY HERO Calendar EVERY DAY! to learn about a new hero they have probably never heard of before.

Organizer created on 1/17/2020 11:21:24 AM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 2/11/2021 10:40:33 AM by Laura Nietzer

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