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Black History Month

black history month


February is Black History Month, a time the country celebrates achievements
by African Americans and recognizes their central role in U.S. history.


Who Started Black History Month?

Carter G. Woodson developed the celebration of Black history, due to the lack of information that was provided to the public about the accomplishments of Black people. In 1926, a week was designated to celebrate Black History to recognize the contributions of African Americans. This week long event that Woodson created became a month-long celebration when President Gerald Ford extended the recognition.

"Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history."  - Carter G. Woodson

"Honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."  -Gerald Ford

Influential African Americans Throughout History

rosa parks

Rosa Parks 

"Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."

Parks stood up for civil rights by sitting down on December 1, 1955. She refused to move to the back of a city bus. Little did the 42-year-old know that her act would help end segregation laws in the south.

frederick douglas

Frederick Douglas

"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence."

Frederick Douglas was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, becoming famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings.

martin luther king jr

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the single most instrumental force in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950's and 1960's. His use of a nonviolent approach to the atrocities of humanity granted him the honor of a Nobel Peace Prize and the inspiration of an American nation and world at large. His famous speech during the march on Washington is forever emblazoned in American history as a pivotal point in the nation's history. He influenced several political policies and calls to action, most notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a living example that one person could change the world, with the help of many.

mae jemison

Mae Carol Jemison

Mae Carol Jemison is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

barack obama portrait drawing

Barack Hussein Obama II

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American politician, author, and retired attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American president of the United States.

kamala harris portrait drawing

Kamala Devi Harris

Kamala Devi Harris is an American politician and attorney who is the 49th and current vice president of the United States. She is the first female vice president and the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history, as well as the first African American and first Asian American vice president.

Books to Read to Honor Black History Month

Look What Brown Can Do! by Marie Harris

This book teaches readers about inspiring contributions to black history and encourages children to dream big.

Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

This book highlights the role barbershops play in black culture and what it is like to conquer your fears as a child.

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

This book is a story about the first African American woman who went to space - Mae Jemison. It highlights her dreams as a child, her hard work, and her success in space.

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

This illustration book reveals Martin Luther King, Jr.'s inspiring speeches about the importance of equality.

Princess Hair by Sharee Miller

This story encourages black girls to embrace their hair in all its many forms. It shines a spotlight on the beauty and diversity of black hair and it teaches young girls that all types of hair is princess hair.

Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

This book highlights the day in 1865, known as Juneteenth, that marked the end of slavery. Children can accompany the character Mazie, as she celebrates Juneteenth.


Visit epic! and sharemylesson for more suggestions on books to read during Black History Month.


Online Resources

28 Days of Black History

Facing History and Ourselves

Sign up with Facing History to strengthen your Black History curriculum. There is a variety of teaching resources and blog posts that are created to promote innovative instruction and reflection of these topics.

Register for the upcoming FREE professional development opportunities available through Facing History!

Engaging in Antiracism Work: During Black History Month and Beyond

When? February 10, 2021

Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM PT

"Black History Month is too often approached as a once-a-year opportunity to highlight the contributions of African Americans to American industry, life, and culture. Join us in this interactive webinar where we will explore the importance of taking a more antiracist approach to celebrating Black achievement throughout the year. Taking a more antiracist approach means committing to confronting present-day inequities in schools and rejecting deficit approaches to educating Black students. Black joy can truly be expressed when students feel socially and emotionally safe and valued in school."

Teaching for Equity and Justice

When? February 11, 2021 to February 12, 2021

Time: 8:00 am - 1:00 PM PT

"Join us for a two-day online learning experience as we examine moments in the history of American education, current systems of inequity, and provide educators with the tools necessary to mitigate these barriers to equity."

Explorations: Building Learning Communities through SEL, Equity and Civic Education

When? March 3, 2021 to March 4, 2021

Time: 8:00 am to 1:00 PM (PT)

"This two-day online introductory “Explorations” workshop is designed for schools and districts interested in learning more about how Facing History can support them in achieving their goals. It introduces Facing History’s programs and approach to social-emotional learning (SEL), equity and civic education, exploring how understanding ourselves, understanding students, understanding history, and understanding learning can empower educators as change agents."


Coursera is currently offering courses taught by Black experts about mental health, finance, workforce development, technology and more, in honor of Black History Month.