Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
One of the core values of our democratic society in the United States is the celebration of diversity and inclusion, honoring individuals of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Indeed, one of our core civic responsibilities is to be respectful of and even learn to appreciate those of a different cultural background than ourselves. Classrooms should be spaces where teachers create an environment whereby students learn to be accepting of people and values different from their own. For much of US history the African American experience and culture has been undervalued. Indeed, much of Black history has been lost because African Americans have historically been treated as second class citizens and even sub-human in many instances. As a result of society’s subjugation of African Americans, much of the history was not preserved, indeed invaluable primary sources have been lost, never to be recovered. Furthermore, even much of the historical documents that have been preserved have been forgotten or overlooked.
In celebration of Black history month we would like to offer teachers some creative resources for teaching in middle and secondary classrooms. The website Nueseum Ed created and sponsored by the organization Freedom Forum Institute provides countless lesson plans on a variety of subjects on US history in general, including many great lessons on Black history. For example, the Nuseum website offers a Civil Rights interactive timeline that can be helpful in social studies classrooms. Other lessons and resources featured on the site include African Americans and religious freedom, the Dred Scott decision, the Brown vs. Board of Education case and a lesson on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birmingham letter.
A website called Teacher’s First is also a great resource for Black history lesson plans and materials. Another great online resource for teachers is the National Museum of African American History and Culture website. The museum is a part of the Smithsonian system in Washington D.C. and is free of charge. The website has many fantastic teacher resources for Black history including an exhibit on Black culture during the 1960’s and 70’s, the Black experience in World War I and an exhibit about African Americans in the American West. The site has many wonderful digitized primary sources, videos and other resources that can be used in creative ways in social studies classrooms.
Newseum Ed: Freedom Forum Institute
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Teachers First: Thinking Teachers, Teaching Thinkers
Five African Americans Forgotten in History