How to Celebrate Black History Month in Your Classroom

Black History Month is a yearly celebration of the impact made by African-Americans throughout U.S. history. Each American president since 1976 has officially designated February as the month for this celebration. Use a little creativity and a lot of research when deciding how to celebrate Black History Month in your classroom.


  1. 1
    Have your students match figures with the accomplishments. Start by assigning your students a list of prominent African-Americans to research. With younger kids, use basic facts as you teach them about the main personalities in black history such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington Carver and others who made their mark on history. With older students, you can incorporate more obscure figures, more contemporary people and pop culture icons into the game. On one side of the paper, position pictures or a list of names. Then in the other column, list the one fact for which each person is best known. The students will then draw a line from the picture or name to the fact.
  2. 2
    Send your students on a historical scavenger hunt. Provide them with a list of names and Internet URLs where they can find a biography of each figure. Create a tracking sheet that includes a numbered list of facts with a blank line at the beginning of each fact. The students will read the biography of each historical African-American figure and fill in the name next to the corresponding fact. Again, the difficulty of this game can be adjusted for the age of your students.
  3. 3
    Rent DVDs or record documentaries from TV about prominent black historical figures like the Underground Railroad's Harriet Tubman, the civil rights movement's Martin Luther King Jr., athletes like Jackie Robinson, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and the first Black president, Barack Obama.
  4. 4
    Arrange for local African-Americans who have had a hand in your community's history in some way to speak to your students. This could be local politicians, spiritual leaders, educators or athletes. Especially meaningful speakers are educators for whom schools in your community are named; it's fun and memorable for students to meet the man or woman for whom their school is named. Have the students prepare questions in advance to learn more about your community's own black history or invite these people to have lunch with your class.
  5. 5
    Start a time line on one wall of your classroom on which your students will write historical moments in the civil rights movement to track its development through history. In lower grades, the time line can be quite simple, and in upper grades, more detailed and comprehensive.
  6. 6
    Create a mural as a way to have a lasting piece to commemorate Black History Month. Use a time line format, starting with early history on the far left, moving through history to the more current figures and history on the right. Or have your students group the figures on the mural by topic with historical figures together, musicians in another section, athletes in another and so on. Allow them to add to the mural throughout the month so it's complete by the end of February.

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Categories: Learning Techniques and Student Skills | Racism