Black History Month: Lesson Plans and Resources for the Classroom
February 01, 2021
Updated February 1, 2022
Black history is American history, and February is an opportunity to introduce classroom discussions and reflections about how Black Americans have shaped our nation. In celebration of Black History Month, we are sharing resources from iCivics, as well as partner organizations to support learning and conversations in the classroom.
Five iCivics Resources to Use This Month
Discover the people, groups, and events behind the Civil Rights Movement. Learn about means of non-violent protest, opposition to the movement, and identify how it took all three branches of the federal government to effect change. Protest posters, fictional diary entries, and a map of the movement's major events develop a greater understanding of the struggle for civil rights.
This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned “separate but equal” in public schools. Students learn about segregation and “equality under the law.”
When President Eisenhower authorized troops under federal authority to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957, he became the first president since Reconstruction to use federal forces to help enforce equal rights for African Americans. Using the example of Executive Order 10730, students will explore how executive orders can be used to enforce the law. The story of integrating Little Rock Central High School doesn’t start or stop with Eisenhower’s executive order. Dive into the downloadable teaching resources to share more of the history with your students through the use of primary source documents.
More inclusive coverage of national and world events is due, in part, to Ethel Payne, the second Black woman to become a member of the White House Press Corps. In her position, she asked leaders tough questions and wrote hard-hitting news stories. Her persistence brought civil rights issues to a national audience and put Black people’s experiences on the front page.
Find all of our animated videos, lessons, and DBQuests for teaching Black history all month (and all year) long conveniently located together on a resources page.
Resources From Our Partners
Black history is more than teaching about the civic strategy and achievements of the Civil Rights Movement. As we work to expand our resources to better integrate the contributions as well as social, political, and historical contexts of Black Americans in civics, we invite you to check out these collections from a few of our partners:
- A Do’s and Don’ts guide from Learning for Justice on how to teach Black History Month
- Nearpod’s collection of Black History Month lesson plans and activities
- Penguin Young Readers has a new middle-grade history program, Who HQ For You, that is offering educators and families monthly thematic activities for Black History Month.