In a 2022 Washington Post article about the teaching of Black History Month, middle school educator Rodney D. Pierce confronts why he won’t back down from incorporating Black history in his classroom, even at a time when teaching difficult histories or discussing the history of racism in America has come under intense scrutiny, and sometimes censorship.
“People of African descent, African American people, we have a very complicated history in this country. And I think when we don’t teach a true and candid history of African American people in the United States, then we run the risk of confirming myths, tropes, and stereotypes.”
The designation of February as Black History Month presents the chance for educators to highlight and celebrate Black voices and investigate lesser known histories silenced by time and intolerance. It’s important to consider February as just one of many entry points into the rich—and yes, as Pierce points out—complicated history of Black Americans.
The challenges of teaching Black history have grown amidst a climate where certain school subjects, especially those that involve race, are being questioned by our divisive political parties. This can result in fewer opportunities for students to learn about not only the accomplishments of Black individuals, but the transcendence of Black joy. Centering Black history not only brings a fuller picture of the United States and the world into view, but it cracks open a font of stories, heroes, and journeys that offer lessons around hope, resilience, and the importance of identity.
Facing History has collected an absorbing compilation of some of our materials, resources, and lessons that bring more nuance and dynamism to your Black history instruction. We hope the incorporation of this scholarship is inspirational and instructive this February and beyond.
Exploring Black History through Black Poets
Engage with the powerful voices of Black poets.
Black Athletes and Civil Rights: 6 Upstanders to Introduce to Your Students
Black History Month is a great time to look back on the impact that Black Olympians and other Black athletes have beyond the world of sports.
Suffrage Matters: 7 Reads on Black Voting Rights and Activism
One way to deepen our understanding of voting rights is to consider the experiences of people who have been disenfranchised over the course of our nation’s history and into the present.
Integrating Primary Sources into Black History Lessons
Learn Black History directly from the stories of those who lived it.
Deep Dive into Black History: 12 Events + Resources for Educators
This easy-to-search list offers readings, audio, visuals, and more to assist in bringing Black history to life in the classroom.
Resistance and Black History
Black resistance to systemic racism has formed a powerful narrative where hate and power are met with organization and defiance.