When studying African American history or developing events for African American history month, many focus on notable people such as Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King or John Lewis. And their accomplishments are certainly worth studying and celebrating! However, to borrow from a letter Abigail Adams sent to her husband during the Revolutionary War, we should also “remember the ladies” who stood shoulder to shoulder with the men on the front lines and sometimes took leadership roles.
One of the Free to Use and Reuse sets of public domain images features African American Women Changemakers. The women included in this have played major roles in the fight for civil and voting rights, in the fine and performing arts, and in the classroom or academic community.
Use these questions, along with items from the set, to stimulate a discussion on the role of African American women in history:
- Ask students: What roles have women played in major historical events? Consider how these women contributed to the success of these historical events.
- Encourage students to think about why these women may not be included in their text books.
- Ask them to consider what makes a person a changemaker.
- What would they like to know about the women included in this set of changemakers?
- Why do they think these women were documented through photographs, when in many cases they did not have the same rights as the men they worked with?
- Allow time for students to research African American history. Who would they include in a collection of African American women changemakers? Why should they be included?
Want to include more information about African American women changemakers in your African American history month activities? Explore these posts from the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog:
- Education in Enslaved Communities Learn more about the work of Susie King Taylor as an educator and nurse during the Civil War.
- Barbara Pope: Newspaper Accounts of Civil Rights Pioneer Before Rosa Parks, Barbara Pope fought for the right to sit where she wanted on public transportation.
- Ain’t I A Woman? A Suffrage Story for African American History Month Learn about the famous speech given by Sojourner Truth in support of African American Women’s Suffrage
- Who was Harriet Tubman? Learn about the noted leader of the Underground Railroad.
How will you help your students “remember the ladies” during this African American History month?
Do you enjoy these posts? Subscribe! You’ll receive free teaching ideas and primary sources from the Library of Congress.