Toward a More Equitable Curriculum: Resources for Teaching Black History and Culture

Edmonia Lewis Sculptor- By Henry Rocher - National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8911218

By Dr. David J. Childs
Northern Kentucky University

For too long the serious study of African American history and culture in public schools and universities has often been an afterthought. African American history courses are normally not a part of required curriculum but are often optional. When the topic is discussed in K-12 schools it is often relegated to a short lesson on slavery or a mention of the Civil Rights movement, the curriculum is often missing the rich study of African American history and culture. Topics such as the knowledge and wealth of ancient African empires (I.e. Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and Egypt, as well as the ancient Timbuktu library), the Harlem Renaissance and the history of African American music are rarely mentioned. With the recent rise of racial tension and blatant prejudice and racism in our society it is time for educators on all levels to take the study of Black history and culture seriously.

A good place to start is an upcoming free online workshop for teachers entitled Teaching Black History and Culture: A Workshop for Educators. The event is sponsored by The Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement (housed at Northern Kentucky University) and the Thomas D. Clark Foundation. It is a “teach the teachers” professional development webinar workshop on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021, 9 am.-3:30 p.m. The topic is teaching Black history and culture. Content for the workshop will include a student panel discussion, presentation on available resources and how to use them, presentation on inquiry-based pedagogy, introduction to new video teaching resources for classrooms, performance piece by students from Berea College and more. While this workshop is designed for educators, it is open registration for teachers in P-12 education, school administrators, faculty/staff, NKU students (especially those in education majors) and community members who may have an interest in these topics. Please register for this free workshop HERE.

Here are some other resources for teaching and learning African American History and Culture.

African American Music
Roots of African American Music at the Smithsonian Museum
The History Of African American Music
African American Song Library of Congress

History of Hip-Hop
The History of Hip-Hop: Fresh Air Features Interviews With Some of the Greatest Names in Hip-Hop History.
The Complete History of Hip Hop
Hip Hop History: From the Streets to the Mainstream

Harlem Renaissance
A New African American Identity: The Harlem Renaissance at the Smithsonian
An Introduction to the Harlem Renaissance

Sculpture Edmonia Lewis
Sculptor Edmonia Lewis Shattered Gender and Race Expectations in 19th-Century America
Edmonia Lewis: Explore the life and work of the acclaimed 19th-century African American and Native American sculptor.
The Fabulous Sculpture and Mysterious Life of Edmonia Lewis

Black Cowboys
The Lesser-Known History of African-American Cowboys
History of Black Cowboys
There Were Black Cowboys? Teaching the American West from a More Diverse Perspective

Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources
306: African-American History Online Curriculum for Middle & High School Bring History to Life in Your Classroom

Black History Month Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources
20 Black History Month Activities for February and Beyond
Black History Month Lessons & Resources, Grades K-5

Podcasts 
Black History Buff Podcast
Eight Podcasts to Deepen Your Knowledge of Black History
Top 15 Black History Podcasts You Must Follow in 2020
A Code Switch Playlist For Black History Month