Each February, Black History Month offers us a dedicated time to honor the rich legacy and profound impact of African-Americans on the tapestry of American history. This month-long observance is not just a period of reflection; it’s a vibrant celebration of the contributions and achievements of the African-American community.


A Brief History of Black History Month

Black History Month originated from “Negro History Week,” established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. It was expanded to a month in 1976, with President Gerald Ford urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”


Why Teaching African-American History is Important

The importance of teaching African-American history in schools cannot be overstated. It helps in acknowledging and understanding the African-American experience, which is integral to the comprehensive narrative of American history. Teaching this history goes beyond recounting the painful past of slavery and oppression; it’s about recognizing the resilience, innovation, and leadership that have been a cornerstone of the African-American journey.

Incorporating African-American history in education serves several crucial purposes. It offers representation, giving students of color role models who reflect their own experiences and heritage. It also provides other students with a more inclusive and accurate picture of American history, fostering empathy and understanding across different communities.

Moreover, teaching Black history challenges stereotypes and combats racial prejudices. It’s a vital step towards equality and social justice, as understanding the past can guide us in addressing contemporary issues of racial inequality.


Celebrating Black History Month with Free TeacherMade Activities

Black History Month is a time to actively engage with this rich history, ensuring that the stories, struggles, and triumphs of African-Americans are an integral part of our ongoing educational narrative. Below you will find seven free activities in the TeacherMade digital learning platform that may be great additions to your lesson plans in the month of February (or January for MLK Day).


ELA/Social Studies: Mini Biographies 

  • Description: Students will choose a leader to research for Black History Month. After they will write a paragraph about the person they researched, and add a picture. This is a great activity for students to share with the class! 

  • Grade: Upper Elementary, Middle to High School

  • Item Types: Open Answer

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ELA: Mae Jemison

  • Description: This nonfiction article will teach students all about Mae Jemison, the first female African American to go into space. Students will have reading checks to assess their reading comprehension. 

  • Grade: Upper Elementary, Middle 

  • Item Types: Multiple Choice, Multiselect, Open Answer

  • Link:

ELA: Can Kids Change the World? 

  • Description: Students will watch the Storyworks video, “Can Kids Change the World?” then answer comprehension questions to assess their understanding of the video, and their listening skills.

  • Grade: Upper Elementary, Middle 

  • Item Types: Multiple Choice, Short Answer, Open Answer

  • Link:


 ELA: Who Was William Wells Brown? 

  • Description: This first African-American novelist, playwright, and author who escapes the chains of slavery, Brown was an abolitionist with a literary talent. A self-taught reader and writer, he was a best-selling author in the 1840s and 1850s and made history for his literary achievements many times. 

  • Grade: Middle and High School 

  • Item Types: Dropdown, Matching,  Multiple Choice,  Short Answer

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ELA/Social Studies: Martin Luther King Jr. Reading Comprehension

  • Description: Students will read a passage about Martin Luther King Jr.’s achievements, and complete reading checks after each section to assess their comprehension.

  • Grade: Upper Elementary, Middle to High School

  • Item Types: Short Answer, Multiple Choice, T/F, Dropdown, Matching, Open Answer

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ELA: I Have a Dream Acrostic Poetry

  • Description: In this interactivity students will learn about acrostic poetry. They will then listen to part of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and brainstorm their dreams for the world. Using their ideas they will then write an acrostic poem.

  • Grade: All grades 

  • Item Types: Open Answer 

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ELA: Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King: Peaceful Warriors

  • Description: Short reading passage including a table, video, and audio that focuses on Gandhi’s influence on Dr. King. 

  • Grade: Middle to High School

  • Item Types: Short Answer, Multiple Choice, T/F, Dropdown, MultiSelect

  • Link: