Since 1976, February has been designated as a time to pause and reflect on the experiences and contributions of African Americans. Teaching with the Library of Congress has published many posts that show the impact of African Americans in a wide variety of arenas including the arts, sports, literature, and politics, with a particular focus on work to ensure equal rights for all. Here is a selection of those posts.
- Preparing for African American History Month: Ways of Honoring Heroes suggests “facilitating a discussion about the ways in which African American achievement has been recognized in the nation’s past” as an entry point to studying African American history.
- Teaching Difficult Subjects Using Primary Sources: Our Readers Respond highlights strategies from our readers for teaching about difficult subjects with primary sources.
- Voting Rights – The Full Enfranchisement of African Americans looks at primary sources from the Library of Congress that document the long road to voting rights.
- The Great Migration in Library of Congress Primary Sources presents a letter and newspaper articles to draw students deeper into the largest internal migration in the history of the United States.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Making Our Nation Whole launches a series of posts using historical artifacts to explore aspects of life under legal segregation that the act was meant to improve.
- Langston Hughes’ Drafts of “Ballad of Booker T.”: Exploring the Creative Process provides a glimpse into the mind of a great writer.
- Bringing History and Dance Together: The World of Katherine Dunham explores the intersection of dance and history.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Fugitive Slave Act presents primary sources to contextualize Stowe’s motivation for writing the famously influential novel.
- Frederick Douglass: Activist and Autobiographer explores slavery and civil rights from the perspective of several previously enslaved men, including Frederick Douglass.
- Frederick Douglass on Abraham Lincoln: The Writer and Abolitionist Remembers the President in Library of Congress Primary Sources examines the relationship between two abolitionists as a way to learn about and celebrate the abolitionist efforts of white and black Americans.
- Booker T. Washington and the Atlanta Compromise presents ideas for teaching about the first speech given by an African American man in front of a racially mixed audience in the South.
- Interview with Fountain Hughes: A Primary Source Starter offers ideas for teaching about the daily struggles of enslaved people through a personal interview with an African American man who had endured life under slavery.
- An Olympian Effort: The Story of Jesse Owens in Library of Congress Primary Sources explores controversies around Owens’ participation in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
- Jackie Robinson: Remembering Number 42 with Primary Sources highlights primary sources to help students understand how breaking the color line in baseball had importance beyond the baseball field.
- For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Exploring Photographs of Civil Rights Movement Leaders suggests strategies to explore the life and legacy of Dr. King, and the work of the many civil rights leaders at the forefront of the freedom movements of the 20th century.
- Looking Behind the March on Washington: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights Movement, and Labor in Primary Sources looks at this milestone event, perhaps best remembered for King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Share your favorite tips for teaching about African American history with primary sources from the Library’s collections.