African American History Month

Resources brought to you by KET

African American History Month began in 1926 as 'Negro History Week' during the second week of February, which marked the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Then, in 1976, the month of February was declared 'Black History Month' in America, and is now referred to as 'African American History Month.'


Use the following resources to aid your class lessons and discussions on the topic. As with all media, please preview to assure the content is appropriate for your audience and community.


If you have any questions, or need help setting up an account, contact your KET Education Consultant.

Discovery Education: Theme Page

Discovery Education: Theme Page. February is Black History Month. It's a good time to explore not only the many significant contributions of African Americans, but also the long road to civil rights. Explore stirring stories of the civil rights movement and encounter the powerful work of African American individuals.


Discovery Education.

Grades K-12.

Africa/African American Culture

Africa/African American Culture. These KET videos provide examples of West African and African-American music, dance, and storytelling. Performances include a Nigerian welcome dance and Togolese cleansing dance. A Mahouka stilt dancer from Cote D'Ivoire performs a recreational dance and a sacred rite in honor of the spirit world, and a Malian musician performs Music of Mali and joins a drum and dance group in a dance of celebration. A storyteller recounts "Anansi's Rescue from the River" a tale from the Ashanti of Ghana. Music and dance from slave communities in the southern U.S. include performances of "Zudio," "Hambone," and the Plantation Dance/Ring Shout. From the KET Arts Toolkits.


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades K-12.

Mission US: Flight to Freedom

Mission US: Flight to Freedom. Mission US is a multimedia project that immerses players in U.S. history content through free interactive games. In Mission 2: “Flight to Freedom,” players take on the role of Lucy, a 14-year-old slave in Kentucky. As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio, they discover that life in the “free” North is dangerous and difficult. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act brings disaster. Will Lucy ever truly be free?


Mission US.

Grades 3-8.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks. This interview with civil rights activist Rosa Parks describes her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. On December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her refusal sparked a massive bus boycott that lasted 381 days, ending on December 21, 1956, after the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation on city buses was unconstitutional.


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades 3-12.

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington. The Caldecott Honor book by Andrea Davis Pinkney, with illustrations by Brian Pinkney and narration by Forrest Whitaker, comes alive in this iconographic program. Duke Ellington was hailed as the "King of the Keys". This is a most fitting tribute to a great man who proudly celebrated the history of African Americans, from slavery to civil rights struggles. Brian Pinkney's glorious artwork swings and sways to Duke Ellington's spellbinding music. Narrated with flair by Forest Whitaker. Part of the Weston Woods Series.


Discovery Education.

Grades 4-8.

Gullah Music

Gullah Music. This video segment from EGG, the arts show describes the community of Sapelo Island located off the coast of Georgia. The original Gullah/Geechee people of Sapelo were enslaved there, but when slavery was abolished the land on the island was abandoned to the slaves. Sapelo Island's valuable land is now threatened as it is the only Gullah/Geechee island to successfully resist real estate development. Each year island residents hold a festival. In order to preserve and educate people outside Sapelo, they bring people to the island to teach them about Gullah/Geechee life and culture.


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades 4-12.

The Story We Did Not Know About Rosa Parks

The Story We Did Not Know About Rosa Parks. Biographer Jeanne Theoharis shares little-known stories of Rosa Parks' life before and after her famous stand on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. From PBS NewsHour.


Discovery Education.

Grades 6-12.

The Abolitionists

The Abolitionists. In the mid-19th century, the abolitionist movement in the United States sought the immediate emancipation of all enslaved people. These passionate antislavery activists—men and women, black and white, northerners and southerners, poor and wealthy—led the struggle that forever changed the nation. The videos in this collection feature historical reenactments and expert interviews that tell the story of some of the people and events that shaped this movement


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades 6-12.

The Harlem Renaissance Collection

The Harlem Renaissance Collection. The Harlem Renaissance, or the New Negro Movement, was a period of great cultural activity and innovation among African American artists and writers. New artists and landmark works appeared in literature, dance, art, and music. Writers such as Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes, painters like Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden, and musicians and composers such as Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith became widely known as members of the Harlem Renaissance. This collection of primary resources from the Library of Congress provides a window into that time period. The accompanying teacher's guide provides historical context and teaching guidelines.


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades 6-12.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. The series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Using video clips from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, this collection of lesson plans address a wide range of themes of the African-American experience from 1500 to the present.


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades 7-12.

It Takes Courage to Be Weak

It Takes Courage to Be Weak. In this lesson, students begin by analyzing quotations about activism and social change, and rewriting them in their own words. Students view video segments from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross to learn about the philosophy of non-violence and about the role of nonviolent protest in the Civil Rights Movement. They conclude by writing first-person accounts from the point of view of a civil rights protester in 1950s and 1960s America. NOTE TO TEACHERS: These segments of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross contain authentic archival footage of the struggle between African-Americans and white Americans during the Civil Rights era. They include some violence and the use of derogatory racial epithets. Before teaching this lesson, please preview the video segments and assess their appropriateness for your students.


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades 9-12.

Using Oral History to Understand Segregation

Using Oral History to Understand Segregation. "A Place Out of Time: The Bordentown School" provides teachers with a touchstone to convey important concepts in American history to high schoolers. In this lesson, students compare ideas and information from various sources to understand how oral histories contribute to our understanding of segregation. Students then conduct their own interviews to further their own understanding of individual experiences during segregation. Find the lesson plan under "Support Materials."


PBS LearningMedia.

Grades 9-12.