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The struggles and successes of many African American personalities. From civil rights leaders to children’s authors, are rich fodder for everyone out there.

February was chosen for the celebration because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born in this month. Extended to a month-long celebration in 1976, Black History Month is an opportunity to emphasize the history and achievements of African Americans.

Explore the many contributions of African Americans with activities about segregation, civil rights leaders and the contributions of African American heroes.

Get Musical

African Americans have a deep, rich musical history ranging from ragtime to jazz to gospel to blues to hip hop to rap and more.

Pay homage to great African American jazz musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Ellington, by reading This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt. Then listen to their music and let your kids free-write phrases to describe how the music makes them feel.

Study African American Inventors

Many of the things we use in everyday life were invented by African Americans, the traffic light, the refrigerated truck, the zipper. There are so many to choose from! George Washington Carver created peanut butter, Garret Morgan invented the stoplight and the gas mask, Lonnie G. Johnson invented the Super Soaker water gun. The list goes on and on!

Have your children research a famous African American inventor this month.

The children can present their findings and write a report about their chosen inventor. Perhaps even demonstrate the invention if possible!

Celebrate Modern Day Achievers

African Americans have had an amazing journey in this country. They’ve risen from the shackles of slavery to become incredibly influential members of our society.

Invite your children to pick an accomplished, modern-day African American figure. It will give your child appreciation/pride for other individuals to look up to for accomplishment instead of ONLY rappers or athletics.

The Courage of Rosa Parks

Know about Rosa Parks by reading "I am Rosa Parks" by Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins. Discuss with your family and friends  how Parks refused to give her seat up on the bus, and how her bravery brought on the civil rights movement. Visit Rosa Parks Bus to share the actual pictures of the bus Parks road on. Show a brief educational video that discusses the events of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Discuss with someone how the laws have changed and brainstorm ways the world would be today if it wasn't for Rosa Parks' courage.

Apps to Teach Black History

WDYK: 100 Influential Black Americans

Learn about 100 artists, activists, political thinkers, sports figures and entertainers who have played significant roles in shaping the African American experience. Includes educational videos.

Black History Month (Audio)

Access a series of podcasts celebrating a host of outstanding African American leaders in the arts, sciences, business, sports and public service. They include heroes of the Civil Rights movement, trailblazing athletes, brilliant musicians, a pioneering neurosurgeon, a Secretary of State, Pulitzer Prize playwrights, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and a President of the United States.

Then and Now Series: Black History

This app offers an informative look into the lives of 100 influential black people in history, with links to online videos and music where relevant.

Black History Month 2013

Available for Android devices, this app shares biographies of famous black people, complete with a fun quiz to test your knowledge.

More Than a Mapp

This free iPad app allows users to locate, experience, and contribute to African American History through an interactive map. Designed to show that this aspect of American History exists all around us, even in months outside of February, the application highlights relevant locations in one’s immediate vicinity and gives users the ability to upload their own.

List of Edmodo Apps

A collection of useful Edmodo apps for developing historical timelines, inspiring student discussion, and more.

Black History Month is the perfect time to celebrate the art, poetry, music, inventions, intellectual contributions, political accomplishments you name it of African Americans. Do you have a great idea or activity that will help others to explore the achievements of African-Americans during Black History Month? Share it with us!


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